Friday, July 31, 2009

Au Bascou - Paris

Tasty Visit to the Basque Country
Many years ago I was in JFK airport waiting for a flight to Madrid. A guy walked up to me and said something like "Erkeetat ruggamerdfriopaoaia." At least, that's how it sounded to me. Turns out, he had sized me up as a fellow Basque and spoken to me in Basque. He was really surprised I wasn't Basque - apparently I look Basque. A couple of years later I was driving with some friends from Madrid to Paris and we made a stop at a gas station in the Basque countryside. The gas station attendant spoke Spanish to my friends, but addressed me in Basque! Last night, on the way to Au Bascou, a Basque restaurant in the 3rd Arondissement in Paris, I told Pingle these stories. She just looked at me like "whatever, silly American."

She was right. Sadly, all the waiters were French and addressed me in French. No mistaken Basque identity or Basque language. The good news is that we enjoyed our meal a lot. We started off with scallops. They were mighty nice, a gentle fork prod is all that was needed to cleave off a bite. They were dressed in some kind of vinegar sauce and topped with chopped almonds.

While looking at the menu, Pingle recognized the Spanish word "gambas" and that was all it took - prawns yet again. Of course, there were a bunch of other French words that followed which she questioned me about. "I think it means encrusted?" I told her, totally a guess. I was kinda right - vermicelli encrusted prawns. They didn't look to good to me but I was wrong. The mustard sauce they were served with made all the difference. Really nice.

I ordered veal with ginger carrots. Seemed rather French to me - nothing different than I'm used to here in Paris. Good, but familiar - no angels singing or Basque trumpets sounding when I took the first bite.

The interior is rustic and dark, romantic if you are looking for that. Pingle made eyes at me all night, kinda like she loved me for bringing her for more prawns. Seems the secret to her is Prawns.

38, rue RĂ©aumur
3rd Arondissement

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  1. So we made up a list of food places to go.. and then we ask each other every night - "So what's for dinner tonight?" We ask this over and over again... eventually I wrote the places on slip of papers and did a lucky pick... we picked G-Spot (hopefully FN writes abt that someday) but while walking there, we changed our minds.. glad we did!!!

    Meal was enjoyable... FN forgot to write abt the desert - choc raspberry mousse on a light choc cookie with a scoop of vanilla and almond ice cream each. Sounds complicated? It was a wonderful combination :)

  2. I didn't forget to write about the dessert, problem is we ate through most of it before remembering to take a photo. It was very good!

    Pingle, it's almost 8pm, where we going for dinner?

  3. Interesting that you look like a Basque. People used to think my father was a Spaniard. In your case, is it the blue eyes, maybe??

  4. Sal - I don't think it's the blue eyes, plenty of us had blue eyes and only I was spoken to in Basque. I asked the guy in JFK and he told me I simply have a basque "look" but couldn't elaborate.