Saturday, April 25, 2015

RESTAURANT AU PETIT GAZOUILLIS, CASTELNAUDARY - A REVIEW

Less than a week after our first visit, we unexpectedly found ourselves back in Castelnaudary for lunch. The first time through, on a Thursday, Au Petit Gazouillis was closed. Tuesday? Open.

A small sign along the main downtown drag in Castelnaudary points to Au Petit Gazouillis, tucked out of the way on a side street. It's a funky, family operation in a small, dim (but not dingy) dining room.We were first in, at about noon, but the room quickly filled with a combination of locals and tourists.  The maitre d' and the single waiter were kept hopping. Even so, service was timely and gave the appearance of being unhurried.

We chose the 13.50 Euro menu. For starters, a charcuterie plate, slices of a variety of processed, store-bought meats with a bit of greens and crudities. Filling if not noteworthy. Cathey opted for the house cassoulet (for a 2.50 supplement). I went for Toulouse sausages and frites. The cassoulet came bubbling hot and quite meaty, a perfect portion for Cathey. My sausage was dense and tasty and the French do know their frites. Cathey had a simple fruit salad for dessert. My molten chocolate fondant came with pastry cream, whipped cream, and a small scoop of French (very) vanilla ice cream. Just delightful. With a demi of wine, and perhaps the most disappointing chunks of baguette I've yet to be served in France, 35 Euros.

If it hadn't been clear that the slices of baguette had been cut from an old loaf - one side of the first slice was crumbly dry and at the least should have been discarded - this would have been a near perfect meal. Be that as it may, Cathey preferred the cassoulet to that of Le Tirou, a ringing endorsement. Given the authentic atmosphere, and for the price, Au Petit Gazouillis is a true find. We'll return.


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