The dining room at Gros.
The name of this restaurant means “fat.” I am going to assume that it refers not to what will happen to those who dine there but to the feeling I had that I was living off the fat of the land while eating there.
The restaurant has a simple decor with artfully stripped down but not repainted walls and a handsome fitted wooden banquette.
Our waitress was personable, friendly and accommodating, adding to the pleasure of the meal to come. It started brilliantly with two stellar dishes. I had the oysters with lime juice,
peanuts and chilies. They were pure joy, but when I switched dishes halfway through with my friend, I decided his shellfish stew with a
creamy sauce, carrots, fennel, scallions and fresh herbs was even better. It was so wonderful and soothingly satisfying that I was strongly tempted to order another.
I’m glad I didn’t because I might not have had room for my main course: a flavorful piece of milk-fed lamb from the Pyrenees, perfectly
cooked and crisped, and served with an artfully presented strip of polenta topped with artichoke hearts (slightly bitter, but that didn’t bother me), shiitake mushrooms and vegetable chips (parsnips, I think). It was so good that I really didn’t want to pass it over to my friend,
but we had agreed to share. To my mind, his rouget (red mullet) with housemade blood pudding (an intriguing combination) was good but less exciting, although he really enjoyed it. I would have liked the blood pudding, which was diluted in a sauce, to be more frankly present.
The desserts were more than fine but didn’t ring as many bells as my first two courses. The soufflé (they seem to be coming back into
fashion; I’ve seen them on quite a few menus lately), made with plum wine and served with shizo (an herb of the mint family) ice cream, was perfectly cooked and delicious. The other was billed on the menu as a damier (checkerboard) but looked more like a tree in a pretty arrangement on the plate. In fact, it hardly resembled its menu description; I detected no chestnut cream or hops or crunchy lemon and oats. It consisted of a kind of cannoli with a creamy
(white chocolate?) filling and dots of the promised blood-orange sorbet here and there. No matter, it was very tasty.
Gros is now high on the list of my favorite restaurants. I’m looking forward to my next visit.Favorite