Wednesday, November 5, 2014

LES TROIS PETITS COCHONS, GINESTAS - RESTAURANT REVIEW

Full disclosure...I'm a sucker for neighborhood joints.

Certainly Cathey and I enjoy destination restaurants with inventive takes on classic themes. But most times when we go out to eat, Cathey and I are simply looking for good food, well prepared, in a casual atmosphere, at a reasonable price. That's what defines a good neighborhood joint. That's Les Trois Petits Cochons (The Three Little Pigs) in a nutshell.

Les Trois Petits Cochons is more a bar than a restaurant or bistro. There's seating for about twenty at tables inside, a few more outside facing Ginestas' market square if the weather suits. You choose starter and main from a chalkboard menu that the waitress props up near your table. We were surprised at the variety. I had grilled Camembert for a starter that came boiling hot with a sort of cracker crust underneath and bits of smoked ham on top. Cathey had an odd take on German potato salad - herring and sliced potatoes in olive oil with a boiled egg for a garnish. There were a number of other choices including the ubiquitous salade chevre chaud (salad with hot goat cheese). For my main I had a steak with pepper sauce, onions, and mushrooms. Cathey had chunks of veal with a tomato and mushroom sauce. Crispy frites accompanied my steak, Cathey's veal came with rice. Everything was nicely but simply presented. No square plates. And everything was properly cooked and spiced. There were even sprigs of herbs in water glasses at the exit of the kitchen that were plucked for garnish as the waitresses brought out the plates. Other choices for mains included beef bourguignon, chicken, duck breast (for a supplement of a couple of Euros), and more.

A demi of wine was included as were our desserts. The wine was good sipping pink. The desserts didn't feel as though they were made in house, local commercial probably. Not bad but not great.

Service was pleasant and cheerful, timely but certainly not rushed. There were clearly a number of regulars in the house for our Tuesday lunch. We heard British English and German as well as our American English and, of course, French. We liked the fact that, as we entered, one of the waitresses was handing a gentleman in a wheelchair a takeout meal and another gent came in later with a basket for takeaway, returning his cleaned plate from his last meal. Being among happy, buzzing neighbors getting the service that they needed, regulars both inside and out, made for an enjoyable hour and a half. And at 13,90 Euros apiece, including the wine, easy on the wallet.

We'll return.

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