Dining with the Frenchies

I took the recommendation of my mom’s friend and went to check out Auberge Etchegorry. It is located in the 13th arrondissement on a very quiet and seemingly remote street. As we were walking from the metro station, we were a little worried that we were heading off the beaten path… and even when we turned the corner and saw the restaurant, it was situated amongst a bunch of residences. Actually, it seemed like the only restaurant on the street, all by its lonesome.

When we walked in it was a noticeably cozy and intimate restaurant. The tables were lit by candlelight and everyone seemed engrossed in very French conversations all around. It definitely seemed like more of a local place with Parisian customers making up most of the clientèle. The cuisine is from the Southwest region, specifically, Basque region. I’m not too familiar with the foods from that part of the country, but I after perusing the menu, I was enthusiastic to give it a go.

The menus were entirely in French, and I could only decipher 30% of it. Thankfully, I had my handy dandy translator to figure out the rest of the menu. It was really good that I did, because we could have ended up ordering differently and not had the delicious dinner that we ended up having. We ordered one of the fixed menus which was 3 courses for around 28 Euros.
For the first course, we ordered Terrine de Gibiers au Foie Gras… It was essentially a really tasty finely prepared pate, and I love pate! This was a fantastic dish. It was flavorful and had a smooth consistency when spread over bread. I really liked it.
The other appetizer was Duo de Jambon de Bayonne et de Serrano which was Bayonne and Serrano ham. Smoked, cured meats are hard to mess up, and these were no exception.
One of the main entrees was Magret de Canard Grille a la Fleur de Sol e Pommes Sarladaises. The duck was great! It was very well-prepared, not dry or overcooked…. but a nice medium rare. The duck meat was tender and the potatoes was very well-seasoned. They had a nice baked crunch on some of the pieces which provided a contrast in texture to the duck.
The other entree was an unexpectedly delicious dish, Chipirons a L’encre et Pimientos a la Morue. I knew it was some kind of squid, but when I saw the dish it was not at all anything like I was expected. I think it was cod-stuffed peppers in a sauce of squid ink with a side of mixed vegetables. There may have been some calamari pieces in the sauce, but honestly, it was hard to figure out the ingredients in the dish. Despite the mystery, it was probably the best dish of the night, if anything, for the unique flavors.
Neither of the desserts were very good. Above was Salade de Fruits Frais which is supposed to be salad of fresh fruit, but it really was more of a soup of soggy fruit with some kind of soft almond wafer on top. I can’t even remember the specific fruits that were in there, maybe some melons, grapes and apples. It really wasn’t very good though.
Below is La Poire Braisee, Tuile aux Amandes which was braised pear with almonds or something. This was only marginally better than the fruit salad as it was softy and soggy as well. It did have a nice almond-flavored soup, but it still wasn’t very good.
Overall, the restaurant was excellent. It was very charming and intimate, and you felt the quaintness that came with it being a family run place. I totally felt like I was in the middle of Paris eating like a real Parisian amongst a restaurant full of French diners and busting out the Frenchy talk like a native…. Okay… maybe not a native, but it was kind of nice to be in a situation where I could practice my French and they weren’t as anxious to practice their English.

PAFO Ratings for Auberge Etchegorry:
Price 3 ½ stars
Ambiance 3 ½ stars
Food 4 stars
Overall rating 4 stars

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