Le Gorille Blanc in the Marais


The ambiance at Le Gorille Blanc is old-style France, with stone walls and hand hewn beams. But the cuisine—traditional foods from southwest France—is decidedly up-to-date.

Boudin noir, the dark-hued blood sausage normally served in a casing, is pressed into generous flat discs, pan fried, and accompanied by apple confit, shaped into quenelles for a lovely presentation.

Flan d’aubergine, a lucious eggplant purrée, is tucked under fresh, steamed fish— hake or cod, depending on the day.

Tender lentils from Puy are paired with salmon fillet, and rich, pureed potatoes accompany the popular roasted duck breast with its sweet sauce.

A signature dessert is the flotignard aux pommes, halfway between a cafloutis and a flan—a rich yet light custard with baked apple and laced with calvados.

Equally surprising are the central location, just off rue St Antoine in the Marais, and midday formules of around 25 euros.


Good Value Dining at Le Fumoir

One of the pleasures of my job is returning to restaurants I’ve recommended, to make sure the food, service and ambiance are as good as when I first visited. Sometimes the place has been “discovered” – and the staff isn’t able to keep up.

Other times, it’s better than ever – as was the case when I went back to Le Fumoir.

First, the atmosphere: polished wooden tables, leather chairs, starched white napkins, Gense flatware, dark-haired serveuses in long aprons who offer a warm, moist cloth for your hands when you sit down.

Then, one of the best values in town: a 2 course lunch formule for 19.50 euros.

I started with the Ginger Twist: juiced ginger and carrots with coriander, served in a wine glass with a spring of parsley. Smooth, light, wonderfully spiced, and the color of pumpkin – perfect for a gray October day.

Then came the poisson du jour: a generous portion of skate on a bed of barely caramelized rutabaga, potato, carrot and portabella, drizzled with a veal and caper sauce. The fish was firm and moist, and I sopped up every last drop of sauce with thick slices of fresh baguette.

It’s easy to double the price of a formule with additions of wine, coffee, and an especially tempting dessert. This day, I stuck to a carafe of cold water (which my waitress replenished without my asking). Lingering over a coffee would have been nice, but I had work to do and a schedule to keep. And given the copious plat, I had no need for dessert.