Lunch - La Régalade
As evidenced by the laudatory reviews in past Wine Advocate issues from both Pierre-Antoine Rovani and myself, this is one of the classic bistros of Paris as well as one of the most difficult tables to secure. However, they do allow late dining, and it's often easier to get a dinner table around 10:30 pm rather than fight the hordes trying to get into this tiny, cramped restaurant situated in a low-key residential area not far from the Porte d'Orleans. The inexpensive wine list was obviously put together by someone who knows where to find good values. Most of the wineries are somewhat insider secrets as there is an absence of both prestigious estates and appellations. I usually end up drinking Jean Thevenet's delicious Mâcon, Domaine de Bongran, which always works beautifully with the cuisine. I also spotted the 2000 Beaume de Venise red from Guy Jullien on the wine list. I know Guy Jullien, the renowned chef at La Beaugravière in the southern Rhône, owns a small estate, but I'm not sure this is the same Guy Jullien. In any event, it was a delicious, Grenache and Syrah-flavored wine with loads of fruit.
As always, the food was sumptuous, with his extraordinary terrines, which are offered free, almost impossible to resist. In fact, one of my guests demolished about half of this dish, which must weigh close to two kilos. With that comes assorted charcuterie, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and loads of other goodies. We followed that with some terrific Coquilles St.-Jacques and a delicious roasted leg of lamb with very flavorful cassoulet beans. This is always a reliable, delicious, fun restaurant where diners can enjoy top quality cuisine in a relaxed bistro setting.
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Petit Louis Bistro
A lookalike, authentic French bistro, Petit Louis in Baltimore's Roland Park is the creation of restauranteurs par excellence Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman. You feel like you’ve walked into a bistro on the Left Bank of Paris when you enter Petit Louis. The food is classic bistro, and they do it well. All of the courses we had were flavorful, sometimes a trifle rustic, but delicious in their intensity. This was good comfort food prepared extremely well. The wines started with one of the major surprises for me over the last year, the 2006 sparking wine from Tony Soter in Oregon. I had this several times while I was out visiting Oregon, and I had always been impressed, but this is a 10-year-old sparking Rosé that is just sensational, and I’m talking world class—it’s that good. Something this good from France would cost at least two to three times as much, so kudos to Tony Soter. The 1995 Billaud-Simon Chablis Mont de Milieu was oxidized and undrinkable. The 1996 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos St. Urbain Rangen de Thann was sweet, and although it went well with the foie gras, it was just a little too unctuous and sweet a wine...