32 Rue Saint Marc, Paris
Dinner on Oct 23, 2004
Just off the La Bourse, the French stock exchange, Aux Lyonnais is wildly lauded as the best Lyonnais restaurant in Paris. Some go further to say this is the best place to crave pike dumpling in the City of Light. The restaurant managed to be oblivious to the area’s galloping fashionization and exist in its own ‘fin-de-siecle’ dimension. Despite the place crawls with Anglophones (on the night I visited, I didn’t heard any patrons around spoke French… Yes, I was all ears to listen what others were ordering) this place worth a visit if you want to know why Lyon is called the gastronomic capital of France.
Tiny breadsticks with a dill and chervil dip kept my tongue entertained while I studied the lovely menu. My appetizer was the rabbit shin meat. The rabbit shin meat was laden on a toast, resting on a bumper crop of celeriac juliennes. It was as homey as it was zesty. The meat of the shin was so tender that I didn’t need to chew it. In fact, the texture was so smooth and liquefying that it didn’t chew like meat. I bet this was the Beluga caviar of meat and what Dionysus was having in heaven.
But if my dining table was equivalent to the stage of the Oscars, my rabbit shin could only net the best supporting actor trophy that night. Because the Academy award for best actor would definitely go to my main course, the boudin noir with potato mash in a hot pot. The blood pudding was so well cooked that I didn't feel like eating the blood of pig at all. There was not tanginess or rustiness of any sort. I was so floored by the richness and complexity of the flavors. The presentation was very grandma-recipe like and the execution was perfection. This was the kind of dish that distinguishes a kitchen from the rest of the pack. I confess I virtually gnawed it like a vampire who hadn’t suck blood for 400 years. 'Plus de sang pour moi, s’il vous plait.'
The dessert got points for beauty as well as taste. It was a soufflé soaked with vanilla ice cream. The well-build classical soufflé was baked together with nuts and strawberry on the sides. The depth and tenderness of the interior and the crispness of the sides were a total fitting match. The light aroma of the ice cream mingled well with the soufflé without overpowering it.
The wine I had was half bottle of 2001 Jaboulet Parallele45. It was dark ruby in color with intense red fruit and chocolate aroma. The palate was sappy and harmonious with a long, warm, peppery finish. It was also a very food-friendly wine that paired remarkably well with my boudin noir.