Skip to main content

LE BIBENT, TOULOUSE: RESTAURANT REVIEW

How much is too much?

We enjoy our visits to Toulouse. The airport is well connected to local and international destinations making it a frequent port of entry for family and friends coming to visit us in the south of France. When folks have an early flight out, it makes sense to spend the previous night or two in town, sight-seeing and shopping in the center of the pedestrian-friendly Pink City - named for the distinctive color of the stone that has been used to construct many of its buildings.

On a recent visit, we stayed in an Airbnb in the very center of town just a couple of blocks from the  spacious Place du Capitole overlooked by City Hall. So it made sense that, when we asked our host for a good place for dinner in the neighborhood, he recommended Le Bibent. A fine French brasserie, he said. He even offered to make the reservation. We accepted.

After we unpacked, freshened up, and managed to input the insanely long WiFi key into our tablets/phones, we checked out Le Bibent's website HERE. Interesting. We would clearly be spending 50 or more apiece. That's at the top end of our range. We might have chosen differently had we been left to our own devices. But there we were. Why not? Let's see what 50€ buys in Toulouse. 

Because we reserved late in the afternoon for the same night, we had to accept outdoor seating. That's a shame. The Belle Epoque interior decor is truly stunning. VERY French. But the night was pleasantly warm, the seating comfortable, and the constant flow of humanity - at a reasonable distance - provided an engaging floor show. High tech heaters helped to maintain the temperature as the evening progressed and also accounted for the pink tint in the accompanying photos.

Connie and I started with a perfect plate of foie gras. The portion was properly sized and totally satisfying, the bread was toasted just to my taste, and the red fruit confiture delightful. Cathey had cream of artichoke soup. Unimaginable for me. Just right for her. For our mains, I had slices of roasted veal. Connie had slow-roasted pork on a bed of lentils. And Cathey had Coquilles St Jacques. The one phrase that described each dish was Properly Done. The veal was roasted to my order, the reduction both simple and tasty. Both Connie and Cathey praised the freshness and taste of their choices. And there were no odd-shaped plates, no squirts and dots from squeeze bottles. Just well-prepared, simply presented food.

Desserts followed the pattern. Full-on tasty. Not overwhelming. Just right.  Even my profiteroles were understated compared to some. And the little pitcher of chocolate sauce? My, my...

A word about our maitre-d, a young woman of exceptional talent. She knew every order at every table and directed the servers unerringly when the food arrived. She spoke perfect English to the English speakers at a nearby table but, since we spoke to her in French, she replied in kind. That was refreshing. She also recommended our wines and each recommendation was spot on. She is one of the good ones. 

As expected, the tab exceeded 150€. Was that too much? Some might have thought so. For us, though a bit steep, the fact remains that we had an excellent dining experience served by a knowledgeable and professional staff in a congenial setting that included perfectly prepared yet unpretentious, thoroughly French cuisine. Worth the price. Guide Michelin agrees and has given Le Bibent a Bib Gourmand, meaning that the restaurant provides good quality for value.

For more of my restaurant reviews, check HERE. And again, sorry about the quality of the pics.

Cream of Artichoke

Coquilles St Jacques

Pork and Lentils
Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

RESTAURANT TEN, UZES: RESTAURANT REVIEW

Ten sits just off the market square in Uzes, one of the prettiest villages in southern France. The newly renovated space is airy and comfortable with tables of sufficient size and sufficiently spaced to provide for a pleasant dining experience. Service was cheerful, fully bilingual, and attentive without being overbearing. The food presented well to both eye and tongue. And the rate of approximately 30 € per person for a party of five included starters, mains, a dessert or two, two bottles of local wine, and coffees at the finish. Reasonable if not cheap eats.  So why am I hesitant to give an unqualified thumbs up?  It took me a while to figure it out. Uzes is a quintessentially French village in a quintessentially French region of southern France. There are those who will say that the Languedoc is just as beautiful but less crowded and less expensive than its eastern neighbors. I know. I'm one of those people. But the fact remains that for many people, villages like Uzes are t

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

VINS I LICORS GRAU: LARGEST WINE BOUTIQUE IN EUROPE

One of the regular sporting activities that those of us living in the south of France enjoy is the semi-annual Run to Spain. Most everybody takes part. It's not a track meet, though. It's a shopping run. We go because some items are cheaper in Spain, substantially so. (I buy Cathey's favorite perfume there because it sells for less than in the duty-free shops, much less than in the local French parfumerie . But don't tell Cathey that. It'll be our little secret.) Some items simply are not available locally - a reasonable selection of Spanish wines, a bottle of brandy to feed the Christmas cake. And so, off we go Spain. Just across the border sits La Jonquera, a small Catalonian town whose name is now attached to a massive array of opportunities to spend euros - department stores and specialty shops, garden centers, liquor stores, tobacconists, groceries and butchers. You want it? You can buy it somewhere along the main drag heading south out of the old town. We