August 8, 2020

Supporting chef friends: lunch in the 'hood

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The Compatriot is back in town after a long absence, and life hasn't been easy during quarantine and the subsequent social distancing, so I scheduled to meet up with him at one of our favorite restaurants.

With dinner service banned by the government, Neighborhood has started to offer lunch in addition to takeout options.  A 3-course set lunch with the option to add courses is now on offer, and the pricing is entirely reasonable.

Local fish soup - this is always a good call, and the beautiful and rich flavors are irresistible.  Especially love the fennel and the piment d'espelette.

Fried cuttlefish - I was staring at the plate with my eyes wide open, and blinked repeatedly... Was this... ONE PORTION?  WHY, YES!  This was all for me!  As a starter!

The cuttlefish were breaded and deep-fried.  They were so, so tender.  And that saffron garlic rouille worked perfectly.

Buffalo wings - someone (who shall remain unnamed) seated at another table refused to eat her share, so I ended up with an extra chicken wing...

Grilled pigeon - in all the times I've been here, I don't think I've ever been served a whole pigeon... and this was for one!  Served on a bed of delicious sautéed chanterelles and lardon.

The pigeon was beautifully done, and pretty damn big, too!  We asked The Man in White T-shirt where they came from, and he half-jokingly pointed to the little park just outside the restaurant... I dispensed with the knife and fork... just grabbed the bird with my hands and started chomping.  So, so satisfying.

Tarte tatin - I shared a serving with my friend.  Definitely my favorite dessert here.

The Compatriot and I brought some wines for the occasion, and we ended up sharing with friends at neighboring tables...

2002 Piper Heidsieck Rare - nice and ripem very smooth, with good depth on the palate.

1971 Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva - opened 1½ hours prior to serving, without decanting.  Beautifully smooth, with some acidity.  Smoky with a little coffee.  Even better 2½ hours in, with a bit more sweet fruit in the nose.

1985 Taittinger Collection - very mature on the palate, with Chinese licorice, salted plum, and water chestnut on the nose.

1990 Vilmart Grand Cellier d'Or Coeur de Cuvée, N°3514, dégorgée le 8 avril 1999 - nice and mature with some salted plum and cotton candy notes.

2000 La Chapelle de la Mission, en magnum - opened 2 hours prior to serving. Sweet and fruity, very minty, smoky. Still got a long life left.

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