Le Dieu depart, la Vie arrive!
Les Terrines de Gérard Vié
John Talbott (who does so much of my homework for me) put Les Terrines de Gérard Vié on my must-visit list for 2009. As noted in his enthusiastic review, it formerly housed and still displays the awning of Neuf 7, “home to Mireille Darc, Johnny Hollyday, Laetitia Casta and Gérard Depardieu”. The new eponymous patron won his spurs (or his scars) at Trois Marches/ Trianon Palace, back before Gordon Ramsay took over.
Barbara, joint host with Frank for my Paris visit, came along. As soon as we entered, the ambience and the odors assured me that this was my sort of place – a classic bistro, upmarket from a neighborhood café but without la folie des grandeurs.
While we were poring over the menu, our amuse gueule arrived, a dish of sausage slices and bits of boudin, together with a basket of toast. As we lingered over our decision, a bearded gentleman at the next table learned toward me. “You are neglecting one of the finest entrées in Paris,” he admonished us, “and your toast is getting cold.” He proved to be right – the bits of meat were indeed superlative and of contrasting and complementary flavours, and the fine artisanal toast had been served warm, along with a heart-stoppingly generous pot of excellent butter.
When my Terrine de harenge marines, pommes tièdes au vin blanc arrived, it was several huge fillets in a long pottery dish that was left on the table. I took what seemed to be the smallest piece, which was twice the size I would have expected as a single helping. It was delicately spiced and seasoned so as not to mask the flavour of the herring, and it was accompanied by as good a potato salad as one could wish for.
Offered on the slate as a main course was Pieds de cochon farcis. It proved to be an outer shell of bone filled with an enormous helping of warm gelatinous meat and cartilage, more than I was able to consume. Equally outrageous was the helping of buttery potatoes that accompanied it. Such offerings should include an ambulance emergency number.
My dessert, Le poire cuit au vin et cassis, crème glacée, was a pear cooked, not in the usual red wine, but with crème de cassis added for flavour, color and sweetness, with a luscious scoop of house-made ice cream. The color and flavor penetrated clear through to the center.
As the distinguished gentleman at the next table was about to leave, he remarked, “You look like one of my old professors.”
“What a coincidence,” I truthfully replied. “You look like one of mine.” Our companions smiled in mutual sympathy.
If I lived in Paris, Messeur Gérard Vié’s terrines would be a regular contribution to my girth.
Les Terrines de Gérard Vié 79 rue du Cherche Midi, 6th Arr,
Tel: 01 42 22 19 18, Mº St-Placide
©2009 John Whiting