Another Paris Meal to Love

October 13, 2014

Blackboard
If I lived in Paris I'd be at Au Passage a lot.  Casual, comfortable, raucous and delicious, this little wine bar/bistro is the perfect place to fall into when you're hungry but not in the mood for an enormous, expensive deal.

The menu, as you can plainly see, is written on the blackboard. What you can't see is that it changes throughout the night.  Order fast – or what you want will have disappeared, replaced by who knows what. Toward midnight (they're open late) there may be very few dishes still on offer.

What the food shares is a basic simplicity. The chefs – one Brit, one Aussie and a young woman from the Phillipines – have worked with chefs like Fergus Henderson and Heston Blumenthal, so it's an informed simplicity that gives you dishes like this superb little rectangle of cod served with carrots two ways:

Cod

These excellent shrimp (the oysters are also superb) Gambas

Raw scallops, sliced and topped with homemade XO sauce:

XO

or just a plate of excellent saucisson seche, with bread, butter and pickled banana peppers.

Saucisse

There are a couple of larger dishes, including a hefty shoulder of lamb and one of the most irresistible little chickens it has ever been my pleasure to eat:

Coquelet

The little coquelet was gorgeously cooked, still moist, with a bowl of tiny potatoes and that wonderful aioli to slather across it. 

Pommes de terres

Different potatoes – floppy fresh frites – came with a square of pig's head, steamed to creamy softness, boned, breaded and fried into delirious deliciousness:

Pig head

Lovely vegetables too, like this plate of chard with a gently poached egg:

Blettes

There's an affordable winelist, filled with wines from small producers.  And graffitti like this to pass, as you walk home, through the 11th arrondissement.

Mistique

 

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7 Comments

  • Dear Ruth, These pictures are absolutely beautiful. That bread looks particularly rich and warm!
    I have a quick question for you, sorry to leave it here, but unsure of where to post it. I’m a writer from Chicago who has corresponded with you a couple of times before. Every October I make your Swiss Pumpkin. Recently I relocated to Kalamazoo, Michigan and I can’t find Gruyere anywhere. I’m sure it’s here somewhere, but I want to make the pumpkin for this weekend. I bought the Emmenthaler, but am wondering if I can substitute something else for the Gruyere? I have Swiss, Cheddar, and Parmesan shreds in the fridge, but am pretty sure that would ruin the dish. I love serving this dish every year.And even if I could find the Gruyere, I may need to substitute it for something a little more affordable. Thank you for taking the time to read this note. If you have any ideas please let me know.
    I loved Delicious by the way! Heartwarming and true, and loved the universally humane moments throughout the novel.
    Thanks again!
    Best,
    Jessica Freeman

  • Jonathan says:

    I used to live in Paris and knew many fine places to eat that were not expensive . Over the years I have gotten glued to my village and project in the Loire Valley that I almost never go to Paris. So when my guest ask me where they can eat in Paris I can not advise them . Thank you for sharing this information . I will suggest this restaurant to folks who ask me for advise and tell them that you like it so it must be good.
    Jonathan

  • Ruth Reichl says:

    Hi Jessica,
    I’ve never substituted any cheese for the gruyere, but I’m pretty loose about cheese substitutions. The best substitute would be a Comte, but if you can’t get gruyere, you’re not going to find that. Parmesan will stand in for just about anything. Asiago too. Cheddar will do, as long as it’s not too oily.
    Please let me know what you use – and how it works. Good luck!

  • Thank you for your reply Ruth. I will let you know what I decide to use, and how it turns out. Comte would be awesome, but am doubtful. We’ll see what happens. Thanks again!
    Best,
    Jessica

  • Cowgirlcook says:

    Just a reader saying THANK YOU. Oh, that cute little coquelet. Be still my heart. This is going in my travel file.

  • Kristinalese says:

    Hi Jessica,
    I would suggest a road trip to Ann Arbor to Zingerman’s, or you can order online – here is a link to their “Antique” Gruyere. http://www.zingermans.com/Product.aspx?ProductID=C-GRU

  • Hi Ruth,
    Pumpkin update here- I just used all Emmenthaler, and added fresh Parmesan and black pepper. Also, this year I roasted and seasoned the seeds first. and then sprinkled them on top with a little more nutmeg. It was delicious and savory- if not just a little too sharp. I served it with fresh tomato slices, raw broccoli, and hearty beers. That pumpkin is always so gorgeous, and makes the house so warm and comforting. It smelled like smoky bacon in the oven. Next year though, I think I’ll return to the Gruyere. Thanks again for the reply. And thank you Kristinalese, Zingerman’s on my list of places to visit while here.
    Happy Halloween,
    Best,
    Jessica

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