If you want to sample the meat sold to the star chefs of France, but do not want to cook it yourself or pay sky-high prices at a restaurant, the best bet is to take a look at the remarkable display at Hugo Desnoyer’s incredible butcher shop in Paris’s 14th arrondissement, then move one step further into the appealing wine bar next door, Le Jeu de Quilles. The tiny, friendly, open spot offers Desnoyer’s lamb from Aubrac, beef from the Auvergne and Normandy (photo), succulent pork, as well as fresh langoustines and razor clams, heirloom tomato salad, and a carefully selected list of wines, including well-priced Chateauneuf-du-Pape offerings from some of the top growers, including Marcoux and Giraud; Côtes-du-Rhône from Gramenon; Morgon from Foillard and Chiroubles from Descombes. The sturdy, moist country bread comes from baker Dominique Saibron. Owners Benoit Reix and Romulaud Le Comte act as though they are welcoming you into their homes, with a friendly table d’hôte as well as tables for twos, threes, and fours. The wine bar is spotless, the meat all gorgeous, but I am certain that flavors would be improved with more careful seasoning, a bit more searing, and a little rest time, to allow each ingredient to reach its full potential. I loved the idea of an apricot Tatin, but, alas, the fruit was cooked too long and began to approach a bitter edge. But I’ll go back: The place is too easy, friendly, and generous not to. (And do take note of the beautiful knives used in the wine bar, all made in the Perceval Atelier in Thiers in the Auvergne. They can be purchased next door at the butcher shop as well as on line at couteau.com.)
JEU DE QUILLES, 45, rue Boulard, Paris 14. Tel: +33 1 53 90 76 22. Métro: Mouton-Duvernet. Closed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Open for lunch Wednesday through Saturday. 25 euro menu.