For King’s Day (who needs an excuse, right?), we wanted to see if Le Petite Perigourdine was as good as we remembered, so we walked down to the corner of rue St. Jacques and des Ecoles for another try.
The restaurant was lively and crowded when we walked in about 8:30, so we were relieved to see we were not the typically conspicuous early eating Americans. As a matter of fact, our ear told us we were the only Americans in the place. That’s generally a good sign.
Here’s the latest review of Perigourdine–it’s even better than before. Do not miss this wonderful little bistro when you visit Paris.
Tableside service–a near-vanished breed–is the norm at Perigourdine. We watched the waiter carve a mammoth steak for the table next to us, after which he performed the show of doling out the mashed potatoes from a copper pot into the plates below, twirling off the last strands with a flourish of his spoon.
Lynn ordered the duck confit with slices of garlic potatoes, and I chose the lamb shank with white beans.
Both were the best of each that we have ever had.
My lamb shank fell off the bone, while the outside was seared to a crusty crisp that held in the juices. The flavor of the large white beans worked perfectly with the meat. Only once have I ever had a lamb shank to compare to this one, and that was at the late, lamented Martinique Restaurant on Magazine Street in New Orleans.
Lynn’s duck confit came out much the same, crispy on the skin, juicy in the meat. And her potatoes were redolent with garlic that elevated them to the level of a chosen dish on their own.
Both confit and shanks are typically cooked for a long time to render them tender; lots of places do that quite well. The difference at Perigourdine is the last-minute roasting that gives the meat the crispy exterior that contrasts so well with the juicy, tender meat falling off the bone.
We ordered a pichet of pinot noir, which our waiter praised. And it was indeed quite tasty. The 50 cl pichet is the perfect size for two at dinner. Why American restaurants don’t offer the pichet mystifies me, because they can charge three quarters of the price of a bottle for two thirds of the contents.
After downing the entire meal and pichet–ordering an appetizer verges on gluttony–we could not resist sharing an order of profiteroles for dessert. (Gluttony? Who said that?) These again were as good as any we have ever had. The ice cream was rich as only the French can make it, the pastry was crusty, and all of it was drowning in a sea of warm, dark chocolate sauce. We ate every morsel. Thankfully they had taken the bread away, or we would have mopped up the very last drop of the sauce too.
On the way out, we introduced ourselves to the chef. Between his halting English and our halting French, we communicated in that universal language of great food. C’est bon!