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Les Bouquinistes avec Guy Savoy, Paris

Les Bouquinistes avec Guy Savoy, Paris
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  • Les Bouquinistes avec Guy Savoy, Paris

    Post #1 - November 7th, 2015, 8:01 am
    Post #1 - November 7th, 2015, 8:01 am Post #1 - November 7th, 2015, 8:01 am
    David Lebovitz recommended several bookstores for browsing as well as a bookseller along the left bank named Alain Huchet. He described Huchet's location with as much accuracy as could be expected but I wasn’t particularly optimistic: although we were in the neighborhood, I wasn’t certain where, precisely, to look. Besides, it was a Saturday morning and many of the stalls were simply closed.

    It was our good fortune, however, to find Huchet. He had arrived only a short time before and was still in the process of setting up his stall. I asked about a particular author I enjoy (Edouard de Pomiane), a scientist and food writer from the early 20th century with a witty and engaging style and simple, highly approachable recipes. He had several of Pomiane's books but his prices were astronomical. As we dickered, I asked for a restaurant recommendation in the area. Although I had some places in mind, none were particularly close. In fact, he recommended a place we had just passed on our way to finding him: Les Bouquinistes (The Booksellers). Actually the name is formally Les Bouquinistes avec Guy Savoy. I remember that as we passed it, I pointed it out to the Lovely Dining Companion and remarked simply that we wouldn’t be eatingtherebecause anything with Guy Savoy’s name was out of our price range.

    So when Huchet recommended it, I suggested to him that he overestimated our pocketbook. He corrected me quite earnestly. And recommended it quite highly. Highly enough that we decided we should, at the very least, look at the menu. The exterior is very plain and painted a matte black. The menu was, surprisingly, within our range. (In the event, lunch was quite reasonable...about $90; in fairness, it would have been more, but the Lovely Dining Companion ate only an à la carte entrée; my lunch was a set price selection for €36, plus wine, and her single course was €34.) Even after eating there, I’m not quite certain what Guy Savoy’s “contribution” is (at the top of the menu is a simply sentence: “The menu is conceived with Guy Savoy and carried out by Stephane Perraud”…huh?), but who cares. It was my single best meal in Paris.

    We were among the first tables to be seated in a starkly spartan room. Everything—everything—was black or white. Two walls in our room (there are two rooms) sported these "bookshelves."

    The decor

    An illustration (pun intended) of the name of the restaurant no doubt. A little, um, odd to my taste but, hey, we were there for the food. (The books tended to be cookbooks but occasionally other things crept in. And I didn’t see a single cookbook of Savoy’s.)

    The set menu

    À la carte menu, page 1

    À la carte menu, page 2

    For my set menu, I selected (from three choices) to begin with the duck and foie gras ravioli, followed by the shoulder of lambconfite-grilléewith tomato/arugula “gnochettis.” Dessert was a strawberry vacherin with “red fruit” (berry) sorbets.

    Duck/foie raviolis, as presented

    Raviolis, so they can be seen
    There were two oversize raviolis, more than sufficient given the richness of both the duck and the foie. The duck had been minced and the flavor…. Indescribably delicious!

    Lamb confite-grillée
    I was expecting it to be good; it was exceptional. The crust on each portion was fabulous, the meat lamb-y without being overpowering, and just rich, flavorful, and a pleasure. (I note, however, that the promised "gnochettis" were replaced by a small salad of pasta, olives, spinach, carrots, and tomatoes. A nice textural complement and well-chosen accompaniment...though I'm still curious to know how the gnochettis would have been. I cannot imagine this done any better.

    Bread service
    Service was mostly silent and unobtrusive which, given the design and décor, seemed somehow fitting. And though silent it may have been, it was just about faultless. Bread service was excellent—including several multi- or whole grain selections, all top-notch.

    My wine I no longer recall (and can’t find it in my notes) but it was wonderful. The Lovely Dining Companion chose to bypass an app and dessert and save her appetite for the salmon “à la plancha” with a dashi broth.

    Salmon “à la plancha” (with “crispy vegetables”)
    Her take, sadly (to me), is that the meal was very good but no better.

    A “simple” dessert that matched the quality of everything that had come before. A vacherin is, classically, a ring of meringue filled with either whipped cream or ice cream and fruit. (The intention is to resemble the famous cheese of the same name.) This presentation wasn’t, of course, classic. But it was the ideal choice after a rich and filling meal and I loved it.

    LDC’s reservations (no pun intended) notwithstanding, I would return in a heartbeat. Everything that touched our table from the bread to the wine to the courses themselves was superb. I literally cannot think of a single thing that could have improved this food. I would return in a heartbeat and look forward to going back to Paris for that reason (among a few others as well).

    Les Bouqinistes avec Guy Savoy
    53, quai des Grands Augustins, 75006 PARIS
    Tel: +33 (0)1 43 25 45 94
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #2 - November 7th, 2015, 8:59 am
    Post #2 - November 7th, 2015, 8:59 am Post #2 - November 7th, 2015, 8:59 am
    Nice report, Gypsy Boy. I wish work (or something) took me to 2 places I don't go: Tokyo and Paris. This is yet another example of what I'm missing.

    Note that the pasta in your salad is gnocchetti sardi. A/K/A cavatelli. Or, if the Sardinian pasta is not identical to cavats' it's pretty darn close.

  • Post #3 - November 7th, 2015, 3:17 pm
    Post #3 - November 7th, 2015, 3:17 pm Post #3 - November 7th, 2015, 3:17 pm
    Thanks for the correction; I had foolishly assumed that they would be little teensy-weensy gnocchi :roll: Nice to have people here who know what they're talking about!
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #4 - May 21st, 2020, 5:41 pm
    Post #4 - May 21st, 2020, 5:41 pm Post #4 - May 21st, 2020, 5:41 pm
    3-Star Michelin Chef Guy Savoy Has Begun Offering Takeout In Paris

    As France emerges from two months of lockdown, restaurants still have no reopening date. Among other dishes, Savoy is offering a poultry ballotine with foie gras in a truffle vinaigrette for takeaway. ... pad&f=1001
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard