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

GRAND CAFE OCCITAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

  We made our way to a new restaurant the other day, up toward the hills past La Liviniere in the small town of Felines-Minervois. None of our party had been there before, but a friend had visited and said that she'd enjoyed it. She's a vegetarian. First clue. Now don't get me wrong. I have no gripe with those who choose to go meatless. I understand the environmental concerns and I understand the horrors of factory farming. But I also understand that form follows function in the design of tools, in the design of appliances, and in the design of human teeth. Our incisors and canines did not develop over the course of hundreds of thousands of years to rend the flesh of a fresh-caught broccoli. We are omnivores by design, Darwinian design. And I enjoy eating omni. Enough preamble... I never went inside the Grand Cafe Occitan. A young lady who would be our server met us at the front door of the nicely pointed old stone house, leading us to a pebble-covered courtyard on the side

Kreuz Market vs. Smitty’s Market: Texas Barbecue in Lockhart

I was born and raised in New Jersey. I didn’t taste Texas barbecue until I was twenty-two years old. What the hell do I know about barbecue? And what could I add to the millions of words that have been written on the subject? Well, I know a bit about food. I’ve managed to check out a few of the finer joints in Texas – Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse in Dallas, Joe Cotton’s in Robstown before the fire, the dear departed Williams Smokehouse in Houston, and the incomparable New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville . So I can speak from a reasonably wide experience. This will not be a comprehensive discussion of the relative merits of Texas barbecue as opposed to the fare available in places like Memphis or the Carolinas. It’s simply a take on our recent visits to Lockhart and the relative merits of Smitty’s versus Kreuz from our point of view. I’ll get all over academic in a later post. On our way out to the ranch in Crystal City, we stopped at Smitty’s. You have to look

GRACE SLICK, BREXIT AGAIN, SELF CHECKOUT, AND MORE: #18

    GRACE SLICK I just listened again to Volunteers , the last Jefferson Airplane album with the 'classic' lineup. 1969. Perfect. Sometimes sloppy. Sometimes over dramatic. But perfect. And Grace Slick. Grace. Slick. Perfect. BREXIT & CONSERVATISM Except for the 30% or so who've drunk the Kool-Aid, can we all agree that Brexit is not working out as advertised? And that the Republican Party in the USofA has sold its soul to a cadre of authoritarians who think they are the true small-d-democrats but who don't want everybody to have a vote and won't abide by a vote that they don't like? How did it happen that, in the name of political conservatism, two countries put into power incompetent leaders financed by greedy elites? And I just read that Michael Gove thinks that Liz Truss is toast because her agenda has been shredded. Whose agenda has been shredded more thoroughly than Gove’s and why would any thinking person be interested in his opinions except to liste