Friday, September 9, 2016

AUBERGE DE LA SELETTE - RESTAURANT REVIEW

They say that familiarity breeds contempt. Maybe that's true. We'd passed by Auberge de la Selette dozens of times if not more, sitting close by a very busy two-lane blacktop, next door to a wine shop, just around the corner from bustling L'Oulibo - the touristy olive cooperative outside of Bize Minervois. A highway joint. With a wine shop next store. And a tourist attraction around the corner. Why waste the time and money?

Over two years go by...

For some unknown reason, friends suddenly began asking us what we thought of La Selette. They liked the place. We'd never been? Let's fix that. A visit was arranged.

Worth the trip.

Five of us sat on a patio, quite close to the highway. But somehow a small retaining wall and some landscaping seemed to modify the noise of passing cars considerably. We had plenty of space although the patio was quite full. And with a bit of adjustment as the sun moved, a large parasol provided sufficient shade. That's not to say that comfort was total. The temperature exceeded 90F (32C) so the girls traded the one dainty little fan back and forth.

Enough side business. What about the food?

We all went for the 24 euro lunch, a bit pricier than our normal, wine not included. (And we went through one and one-half liters of pink and a half liter of red.) We started with a small plate of olives (local lucques) and a cheese-and-cream dip seasoned with Espelette pepper and accompanied by nice toasted bread bits. The table was a bit large for the one small plate but we managed to each get a share. A simple little glass of gazpacho followed, nothing fancy but you can't beat the local tomatoes when they are in season.

Cathey went for an escargot starter that came in four small cups. She could detect no differences between the four, and if the differences were too subtle for Cathey, they were just too subtle. Not too garlicky. I had a good-sized salad featuring what I would call Camembert fritters, four chunks of pleasantly tangy Camembert fried with a crispy crust of bread crumbs. Plenty of lettuce with a creamy dressing and a radish and onions and corn kernels. (The French have a thing for corn kernels on salads. Don't know why. I surely do miss my American sweet corn though. Nothing like that here. But again. I digress.)

Cathey had the seafood gratin for her main course - creamy, cheesy (I say that a lot, don't I? Creamy and cheesy...) piping hot fresh catch flanked by fleurettes of mashed potatoes. Very satisfying. My slow roasted lamb with black pepper and lemon confit just fell off the fork. If you like lamb, the lamb here is heavenly. The pepper threatened to be overpowering at first taste. But once I settled in, it worked. You had to like black pepper, though. Sides included mashed potato, a little dish of ratatouille (totally unnecessary), and a little spoonful of diced fresh tomato with garlic and oil.

Dessert? Of course. I had a tall, wonderfully nasty profiterole (see pic). Cathey's sorbet finished her meal cleanly and well.

I should add that there were a couple of different choices by our table mates throughout the meal. All satisfactory. The full-on cafe gourmand was quite impressive.

I can't speak to the full freight. We were treated to lunch and I don't ask. Whatever the cost, the food was well-prepared and well-presented in a no-rush, pleasant atmosphere, served by attentive, helpful servers. As it should be...

Camembert Fritters

Seafood Gratin

Slow-Roasted Lamb

Profiterole





6 comments:

  1. It's the restaurant we most commonly go to with guests or a group (especially out of season when opening hours tend to mean everywhere else is closed between Sunday and Thursday!). The prices are reasonable, the staff are extremely pleasant and the menu is broad enough that there's something for everyone - it's a shame about the location but the restaurant is still definitely a favourite! And you can book online via their website.

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    1. I don't know why we never went before this except, as I said, it wasn't until recently that people began mentioning it favorably to us. It will certainly stay on our radar.

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  2. And they usually do a great café gourmand!

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    1. Two of our party enjoyed theirs and couldn't quite finish.

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    1. I was one of them who had the café gourmand' although I was pretty full by then. Still a reliable place for a great 'Sunday Lunch'

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