Le Comptoir du Relais: A Legendary Parisian Institution
Hello everyone! Today, we're taking a trip to Paris! And, in fact, we're going to stay here for a while. This will be a series of 4-6 different restaurant reviews to showcase all the delicious food we ate. When visiting another city, always ask the locals and do your own research. Why? Because the locals know all the best spots to feast and your research will serve as your own due diligence.
For example, when my friends and family visit New York, I'll always take my family to somewhere like L'Artusi, Sakagura, or Jungsik even though the typical New York visit would/should often include the usual Shake Shack, Katz Deli, or Peter Luger's. During our restaurant search, we were encouraged to try Le Comptoir du Relais for some great, authentic French cuisine. The restaurant, meaning "The Relay Counter" in French, is owned by Yves Camdeborde. Given the quality of the food and the size of the crowd, it's refreshing to see that Le Comptoir du Relais lacks pretentiousness and goes straight into serving excellent eats.
FUN FACT: This restaurant was featured in Anthony Bourdain's 100th episode of No Reservations. I love this TV show! His job is my dream job.
Address: 9 Carrefour de L'Odeon 75006 Paris
Cochon de lait braisé et rôti lentilles en ragout
Anyways, let's talk about the food. I ordered the Cochon de lait braisé et rôti lentilles en ragout (see above). Don't worry if you can't pronounce that. I can't either. Regardless of how it's pronounced, it's a braised and roasted suckling pig with stewed lentils. Sweet. Baby. Asparagus. I could lick this plate down if I were eating this dish in private. My guess would be that they exposed the whole pig to dry heat in an oven for a few hours to tenderize the meat. Then, the pig was prepared, seared in place, and then braised to soak up some of the flavors of the lentil stew. The meat was tender, juicy, and had just enough char from the Maillard reaction. The lentil stew complimented the meat and was comforting in taste. 10/10 would get again.
To share, we ordered the escargot. These are not uncommon in a typical Parisian meal. In all honesty, I'm not that big of an adventurous eater and these snails scare the manhood out of me. The thought of these slimy creatures sends me into a frenzy of body spasms and awkward facial expressions. But, hey, if it's on the menu, maybe people actually like it. So, I manned up, shot one straight into my mouth, and started chewing. I was welcomed with a surprisingly pleasant taste! It was light and tasty. Its flavors were of garlic, butter, and parsley. The escargot was earthy and its texture was similar to that of a mushroom. It's a must-try for anyone looking for some culinary excitement.
Unfortunately, two of these bad boys sent me into a minor allergic reaction. At least I enjoyed the taste even though the next 3-4 hours were pretty rough. Regardless of this mishap, I would still come back to Le Comptoir du Relais any day.