Plat principal

In my opinion, the Art Nouveau era of the early 20th century was one of the most beautiful. If you agree, you’ll love dining at the Grand Bouillon Racine, 3, rue Racine, just north of the Jardin du Luxembourg. The restaurant has been open since 1906 and the interior is a time capsule of Art Nouveau. It was fully restored to its original splendor in 1996. A bouillon was originally a quick one-dish meal of meat cooked in broth for the working class of Paris. I had the lunch special of a plat principal and dessert for 14.90 Euros.

RacineOne of the quirks of all the words that English has borrowed from French is the fact that sometimes the new meaning contradicts the original. In French, an entrée is an appetizer because it is your “entry” into your dining experience. What we call an entrée in English is a plat principal, or main dish, in French. For my plat principal, I chose the Filets de sardines rôties sur écrasée de pommes de terre à la tapenade, or grilled sardines served atop a square bed of garlicky mashed potatoes, with the sardines arrayed like the grey roof tiles that mark the Paris skyline.  It was a creative presentation and blending of flavors.

Racine 2For the dessert, I chose the Pressé de mangue au pain d’épices. It consisted of chunks of mango pressed together around a center of gingerbread. It was served as a slice, like a piece of lemon bread, for instance. It was pleasant and different and probably the healthiest option on the menu, but I wondered if I shouldn’t have gone with the crème caramel flavored with sirop d’érable (maple syrup) or the profiteroles that were the special of the day. If you’re looking for an elegant, reasonably priced lunch with fast and courteous service, you’ll be delighted with the Grand Bouillon Racine.

The Historic Restaurants of Paris: A Guide to Century-Old Cafés, Bistros, and Gourmet Food Stores

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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1 Response to Plat principal

  1. Pingback: Bavarois au cassis | One quality, the finest.

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