Literally translated, this is the name of the place Nick and I supped on Friday night. We found L’autre Café after being turned away from the restaurant in which we had planned on dining. On our way there, we had noticed a side street that seemed to be packed to the gills with restaurants, bars, and cafés, so we headed back in that direction. We ambled down the street for a couple of blocks and determined that there were enough worthwhile-looking places on this single street (rue J.P. Timbaud) to keep us occupied for the evening, if not the month. After perusing the menus of several restaurants, we ended up at L’autre Café, a fairly large establishment with cozy upstairs seating and a lively bar scene.
The menu had quite a few tasty-sounding options, and we noticed several tables with cheese and charcuterie platters – always good for a hearty snack or appetizer. But we wanted something a little more adventurous, and the os à moelle fit the bill.
That’s right, marrow bones. We got four large marrow bones full of buttery marrow goodness, with a side of coarse sea salt and some toasted bread. This was not nearly enough bread for the amount of marrow contained in those bones, so we dove into the bread basket as well. The bread basket itself had a lot of room for improvement – the sliced baguette was definitely sub-par – but slathered in delicious marrow, who cares? This could easily feed 3 or 4 people as an appetizer, especially if one of them is a little squeamish.
For the main course, we both chose lighter fare, given the lavishness of our first course. I got the pan-seared salmon with spring vegetables, and Nick had the chicken brochettes.
The salmon was nicely cooked, with a crisp brown exterior and moist interior. The vegetables included broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, mushroom, zucchini, and probably a few more. They were not, as the custom tends to be around here, way overcooked. The salmon and vegetables were napped in a mild butter sauce. All in all, pretty enjoyable (and left me feeling healthy rather than gluttonous, as opposed to the aforementioned marrow bones).
Nick’s dinner (This picture didn’t turn out as well as the others, but hey, it’s a camera phone), chosen at least as much for the potatoes as for the glazed chicken, was also a success. The potatoes, which I’ll admit I dug into almost as soon as the plate arrived, had great olive oil flavor and a pleasingly rustic texture. (Well, rustic for France, where the norm for mashed potatoes is an unctuously smooth purée.) The chicken was well-cooked, by which I mean juicy and tender, and the not-too-sweet glaze complemented it nicely.
We were pleased to note that this place is open every day (even Sunday!) and serves food continuously (i.e. no break in the afternoon) until midnight. Good to know.