Skip to main content

LE POURQUOI PAS, CAPESTANG - RESTAURANT REVIEW

Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.
                                                              ~ Yogi Berra 

You find a new restaurant. Everything is perfect - the setting, the ambience, the service, the food. You want to keep it to yourself. You know that if your new favorite generates the latest buzz, it will lose some of its charm. Maybe you won't be able to get a last minute reservation. Maybe the idiot at the next table wearing an earbud will start talking too loudly into the ether. And your perfect place won't be perfect any more.

Please. Don't visit Le Pourquoi Pas.

On the other hand, many more restaurants fail than succeed. In the States, it's estimated that 80% of restaurants close after less than one year. Some that fail deserve a better fate, deserve to become staples of the local cuisine scene. Le Pourquoi Pas deserves to survive and thrive.

Please. Visit Le Pourquoi Pas.

Get it? I'm conflicted. Cathey and I already love this place. After just one visit, we know that we'll be back again often, introducing this charming restaurant right up against the Canal du Midi to friends and family. Because we want Le Pourquoi Pas to succeed. And we have a feeling that it will succeed. But on its own terms - as a friendly, easy going, out of the way meeting place for small groups of friends who enjoy good food lovingly prepared from the freshest, best available local ingredients.

I mean it when I say that Le Pourquoi Pas is out of the way. You follow signs tacked to trees through the vineyards that lie between Capestang and Quarante, ending up on a dirt track along the canal. Your Belgian host Yves Urbain has taken a ramshackle canal house left to the elements and created a comfortable blend of stonework walls, tile floors, and modern amenities. Patios are in the making...when he recharges his energy. And then there's a kitchen garden to institute. But for now, let's talk about the food.

We chose from the tapas menu. You can choose individually or in groups of four, six, or nine. Cathey and I opted for four choices apiece. In truth, the portions were sized so that an array of six would have been sufficient for the two of us to share. Between us, we had a smooth, mild boudin; a pate fin de campagne equally smooth and delicious; a tasty saucisse sech au Roquefort; anchovies both salted and in vinegar; and petit gris a la persillade (snails in a parsley sauce infused with garlic). The charcuterie comes from the town of La Salvetat in the hills to the north, the anchovies from the lovely coastal town of Colliure. Yves' care in the selection paid off. Each morsel represented the best of its kind. And the one example of Yves own work, the sauce for the snails, was impeccable. The next visit, we'll order the plat du jour to fully test Yves' kitchen skills. I have no doubt that he'll pass.

Local olives and chunks of petrissane (the bread from our very own bakery in Quarante that Cathey and I purchase several times each week) accompanied the tapas. And we had plenty of choices for our wine, including the local pink that we ourselves serve to favored guests.

I often say that the French know chocolate. Of course, so do Belgians. The chocolate cream (Not mousse. No eggs.) topped with berries and lightly whipped cream was simply heaven. And Yves insisted that I taste his apple tart with cranberries. Not chocolate, but well executed just the same.

With coffee for me at the finish, the tab exceeded 50 euros. No, not cheap. But we could have done with the less expensive tapas choice and we spent the better part of three hours in a tranquil, comfortable, off the beaten track setting with the best of the terroir in front of us, a congenial host seeing to our every need, and that chocolate cream. An afternoon well worth the price.

Reserve early. Reserve often.

All of my restaurant reviews appear HERE.

EDIT: Le Pourquoi Pas has changed hands. Renault cooked for Yves for some time before taking over, so you may be familiar with him. We have not returned since the change.





Comments

  1. Hi Ira and Cathey,
    great to read your review and to know that Le Pourquoi Pas is open for business once again. I have fond memories of lunches and dinners when it was run by its previous owners, who created the restaurant from a roof-less shell, and who found that charming name! I'll be trying it out before too long, and I hope that Yves succeeds as much as the previous owners did.

    ReplyDelete
  2. From what I understand, Yves found the place in a similar difficult state - ivy growing through broken windows and such. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ira! Either your writing is getting better, or you keep going to better and better restaurants. Love your posts brother. Enjoy the food. I must be a bad person 'cos I'm jealous X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your support, George. You know, the French are really into their food and it's hard to find a really bad restaurant. So my reviews tend to reflect a certain consistency. But every once in a while, one grabs you. This one grabbed me.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

RESTAURANT ETIQUETTE IN FRANCE: SIMPLE PRIMER (WITH TONGUE IN MY AMERICAN CHEEK)

My recent reading of a poor internet review of a favorite restaurant of ours prompted this post. Some people simply should not be allowed internet access. Speech may rightly be free, but it shouldn't be worthless. From reading the review, I could determine that the reviewer was a tourist who started out in a bad mood because he had to pay extra for parking a camper van that exceeded the maximum height for parking in the free lot. His party arrived at the restaurant at the end of lunch and without a reservation. At first, he was told that an empty table that he pointed out was reserved. When he persisted, he was informed that lunch was over. Since none of the other restaurants in town were still open, the reviewer had to miss lunch. Let me count the ways... RESERVATIONS ARE NECESSARY. Maybe not at Burger King, maybe not in a touristy restaurant in a touristy destination. But if you are really hungry, if you really want to try that restaurant that everybody's talking ab

FINDING A HOUSE IN FRANCE: FIRST STEPS #2

  First, be advised. I am not an expert in anything except my own experiences. And my experiences are confined to a particular time and place. If you have issues, I welcome them in Comments. We've been house hunting in Herault on several occasions since 2003. (Herault is a French department, somewhere between an American county and a state.) We twice visited to find a holiday home from which to learn about and explore the region. After deciding that this region of France was where we wanted to settle in our retirement, another search led to our current home of seven and a half years. And recently, we searched for a home with broader, gentler stairs given the state of our old bones. So I do speak from experience. As always, my advice is free of charge and worth every penny. There's no multiple listing service in France. Each agent has their own website and, while some agencies do cooperate with partner agencies, it can easily be the case that there is a house for sale next door

ARCHIVED VIDEO CONCERNING APRIL, 2021 LOCKDOWN

 I made this video a few months ago, but things moved so quickly that I never published it. Now that France is experiencing the fourth COVID wave, I thought that it might be interesting to revisit.