La Buvette Serves Complex Small Plates


La Buvette, (meaning refreshment stall), is at first glance as unsophisticated as its name suggests. The tiny place holds 3 tables, a wooden bar, a wall of wine bottles, and a mirror listing the daily food specials, one beneath the next, in white script.

The food list is a bit hard to read, but then it hardly matters what you choose. The food, delivered on small plates, is not just good, but surprisingly complex.

We started with saucisson d’Aubrac, a rosy pork sausage from south-central France, served thinly sliced, with a sliver of smokey butter. Piled on a piece of fragrant, sourdough wheat bread (a treat by itself), the combination was subtle and refined.

The terrine d’aigneau with cumin and figs was sweet, rich and moist. Add a round of “pickles maison,” and it became almost otherworldly.

My tomates anciennes with red currents were a wonder: 3 types of heritage tomatoes drizzled with olive oil glistened yellow, red and green, and smelled of summer.

The complexity may have continued to the wines, but I can’t say. Red wines by the glass were indicated by the grape: pinot, gamay, and syrah/grenache. For a minute, I thought I was back in the US.

In France, wines are normally introduced by their apellation. And servers, who are familiar with the wine makers and may have stepped between the vines, talk about what sets the wine apart. They talk about the wine’s character, suggest food pairings, and feature the label. None of this happened at La Buvette.

We chose the pinot, which our server poured for us to taste before ordering. It was perfectly good, but with a bit of information, it would have been even better.


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