Another short, grey, chilly day in Paris so the only solace was to tuck into some warming bistro fare. When I heard that bistrotier Gilles Bénard had left one of our favorite bistros, Chez Ramulaud in the 11th, for a small and no frills spot in the 20th near the Parc de Buttes Chaumont, I headed over there. And was I rewarded! Another simple but great bistro to add to the list.
How to decide between the braised oxtail with orange and an avalanche of fragrant and delicious carrots and baby turnips; moist roast pork with mounds of soft and succulent cabbage; farm chicken with braised endive? As the oxtail and pork arrived, warming aromas wafted from the table, it was time to salivate, and tuck in. A few glasses of Jean Foillard’s raspberry-rich Morgon Côtes de Py helped take off the January chill, and we smiled in self-satisfied contentment at our choices. The food was not just bon, but the carrots tasted like the best carrots I’ve ever had (and I am not a carrot fan), the oxtail was properly falling off the bone, and braised to perfection, the ideal example of the famed Maillard effect on meat. Likewise, the pork had backbone and personality, perfect texture.
At Ramulaud, I always looked forward to the generous cheese course, and remember envying their little wooden cheese house on wheels. At Quedubon, Bénard offers a small choice of three cheeses, but what quality! It has been years since I tasted Morbier, the cow’s milk cheese from the Jura with its thin strip of ash in the center. All too often it resembles Velveeta and has about as much taste. This one was aromatic, lactic, beautifully made and perfectly aged. Likewise for the aged Comté, fruity and memorable.
The giant blackboard lists up to 150 different wines, including Richard and Couturier from the Southern Rhone, Chave from Hermitage, Leccia from Corsica, and more.
When I took a look at the price on the blackboard set before us, I thought that my eyes needed a quick checkup. Could that be correct? 14 euros for a hearty main course and dessert or cheese? A huge 16 euros if you are REALLY hungry and prefer a first course, main, and dessert or cheese. I’ll be back, for sure.
Quedubon, 22, rue du Plateau, Paris 20. Tel 33 1 42 38 18 65. Métro : Buttes-Chaumont. Closed Saturday lunch, all day Sunday, and 1 week in winter.