L’Ane Rouge

September 21, 2007

7, quai des Deux Emmanuel;

(September 17, 2007)
It was such a beautiful night; we decided to choose a restaurant that required a nice walk, something we wouldn’t do on a winter’s evening.
We arrived at 8:00 and had our choice of tables, including one of the few outdoor spots. The five or six outdoor tables are arranged so that they seem to be an extension of the main dining room which now totally opens up to the street.

Inside some of the walls are now yellow and rust. They may have been the same colors before the fire in 2003, but with the ensuing renovation everything now looks much cleaner albeit still traditional.

The Menu “Baie des Anges” (75€) looked lovely but with five courses, it was too big for us, so we selected from the very appealing á la carte menu. Before our first course arrived, we were given three extremely tasty little surprises: a small cup of a smooth and nicely spiced gazpacho, a “crumble” of tomato with cheese bread forming the crumble part, and brandade de poissons that was outstanding and different from the usual salt cod brandade.

Gary and I chose la fleur de courgette farcie d’une mousseline de poisson, langoustines rôties, jus de crustace s(24€). The mousseline was light and fluffy. Rather than being stuffed into the flower it appeared that the flower was just laid on the top and bottom of it and then sauced with a rich and somewhat foamy seafood sauce.

Two langoustines anchored either end of the flower and along the rim of the bowl were a baby sliced zucchini and a packet of baby lettuce leaves tied with a chive. Then we dove right into our meat course.

Three generous and perfectly cooked slices of roast veal (29€) were centered on Gary’s plate and sauced with a sage flavored jus. Flanking the meat was lasagna du Pays Niçois, which looked more like a rectangular sandwich, dough laid on top and bottom, with the filling quite solid between the pasta. Along the other side of the plate ran a line of sautéed mushrooms.

Varian’s sliced lamb (32€) became the topping to a tian of rosemary flavored zucchini. This plate, too, was garnished with a line of sautéed mushrooms. Both these entrées were superb.

To drink, we started with a rosé from Ferry La Combe which was just right and then moved into a Bellet Cuvée Baron G 2004 (65€), a red wine we have always loved but which is often hard to find. It complemented the meats well and also complemented our cheese course (15€): a small selection of five varieties, all perfectly aged; and garnished with a fig confiture and raisins and lettuce.

All in all it was a perfect evening, and the walk to and from the port of Nice made us feel virtuous.

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