In this time of war, it was a bit strange to be going to a restaurant called Oui, Mon Général!, but, in fact, the restaurant’s name is simply a reference to the name of the street it is located on in Paris’s seventh arrondissement.
There was nothing militaristic about the cheerful, attentive service. Three of us snagged a small table next to the bar and perused the longish menu with a wide variety of offerings, ranging from a croque monsieur to a leg of lamb for two or three people. The wine list was in a heavy book, obviously put together with love, featuring bottles ranging from less than €30 to over €3,000. Now that’s a wine list!
It wasn’t easy to choose among the many offerings, but we finally picked a lovely bottle on the lower end of the price list, a 2017 Saumer Champigny, Le Clos du Château de Parnay.
I started with the fish accras, which were wonderfully light and fluffy, crispy on the outside and not at all greasy. They came with a wonderful rouille dipping sauce.
One of my companions had the pork and pistachio terrine of the day, which was deliciously meaty (a theme here) and went down like a charm. It came with a fine fresh mixed salad.
That same friend had been eyeing the vitello tonnato on the list of starters and ordered it as his main course. This is a dish the idea of which I always find appealing but that is often disappointing in reality. This was the best example I have ever come across, with plump, juicy slices of veal and big fat capers joining the tuna-flavored sauce. My friend savored every bite while his wife and I chowed down on much heartier main courses.
She ordered the cassoulet, a dish rarely seen on Paris menus these days. It was a brilliant move. This version was better than any I’ve had, even in the heart of cassoulet country in southwestern France. It’s hard to get both the beans and the meats – in this case, duck and pork – cooked just right so as to preserve their flavor. It was a marvel, and her husband and I could often be seen sneaking our forks into her dish, in my case, especially for those delicious beans.
My main course, a pot-au-feu with pork instead of the usual beef, was almost as meaty, but not quite: mine actually had vegetables in it: wonderful carrots and golden turnips. The pork products were of the highest quality – even the fat was delicious, although I tried not to eat too much of it, and the stock was fantastic.
The général kept up the pace with the desserts. One of my friends was smiling like the Cheshire Cat over his wonderful chocolate-and-coffee-cream dessert with hazelnuts.
I was a little less happy with my carrot cake, which wasn’t as moist as I think carrot cake should be and did not have the buttercream frosting I love so much, but it was still an excellent cake in its own right.
My other friend, who is allergic to nuts, stuck to a simple dessert of fine chocolate and vanilla ice cream. No complaints there.
I can unreservedly recommend Oui, Mon Général! and wish it were in my neighborhood so I could go there all the time. I salute the owners, Nicolas Bessière and Stéphane Reynaud, and promise to obey orders to always eat everything on my plate and drink everything in my glass.Favorite