Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Chardenoux and The Head
Well, I can now die knowing I've tried tête de veau (note: the link to the left os NOT for the faint of heart!), that venerable French classic that reminds me of an infinitely gringo-downed version of some crazy Mexican voodoo stew from my (over-active?) imagination. But am I better off for having done so? Well, maybe not particularly, but I can truthfully say it was not as ghastly as you may think (however, if you're veg, it was that ghastly and worse). Tucked away on a sidestreet not far from Bastille, Chardenoux is a very lovely little old school bistro which, in spite of what seems to be lots of press, appeared to me to still be very much a locals-frequented hidden-gem spot.
Although the côte de veau with sautéed girolles (chanterelles) and potatoes almost dissuaded me from the tête, along with the knowledge that Ryan and quite possibly the rest of our party would be mildly terrified, I remained steadfast in my decision. This was guided largely by the fact that I knew I would be having the best and most authentic version possible, which turned out to be true. It just wasn't my cup of tea, er, bowl of head... Baddum-shing!! Sorry, I couldn't resist that one. I will say the sauce gribiche was quite good, it's just that I'd rather eat it with some nice fried fish instead. Aside from the tête (which, again, to be fair, was just as it should have been), everything else we had was great: salade de roquette (arugula salad, pinenuts, 2 rounds of St. Marcellin baked on top of cooked slices of green apple), carpaccio of cured salmon with shaved fennel and herb oil, cœur de rumsteack à l'echalotte, pavé de cabillaud (cod) with cabbage and saucisse de Toulouse, and finally a showstopping crème brûlée infused with jasmine tea. It was one of the best versions I've ever had, and I've probably eaten a bathtub full in my day. So, Chardenoux, I give you both thumbs up, the head included.