Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On a mission

I am a man on a mission when I come to France each year. It is not to drink as much Burgundy as possible – that is taken for granted – but to eat birds and offal. Just as Bordeaux is off my menu, so is lamb (especially) and beef. True, neither of these meats are Burgundy-oriented, but it is the scraggy bony cuts of lamb and the thin slices of beef that are the kiss of death. So a restaurant on the peripherique encircling Beaune called Piqu’Boeuf, garlanded with steer’s horns, had never merited more than a passing glance. But it had been recentlly recommended by a French friend, and so Suzanne and I decided to give it a go. When I spied Brioche de foie gras poêlé aux brioche and ceps at the head of the entrees, my heart leapt: fresh foie gras flip-flopped in a searing hot pan delivered all I hoped for. Suzanne’s Raviolle d’escargots was a sophisticated dish from presentation to stomach. I went for the maximum with my main course: a 400 gram Entrecôte de boeuf charolais du Maquignon cooked rare on the massive fireplace-cum-barbecue, and a mountain of pommes frites. Suzanne had Rumsteack de boeuf charolais, all the numerous charolais dishes coming from a single producer – grand cru beef, for sure.

The wine list is adequate, and you do get decent glasses. A ‘99 Domaine Billard Gonnet Pommard Clos du Verger Premier Cru at €46 was standout value, even though I had never heard of the producer – nice enough wine. With a few other bits and pieces the bill was €134, cheap at half the price.

Piqu’Boeuf, 2 Rue Madeleine, 21200 Beaune; phone 03 80 24 07 52; www.piquboeuf.com, contact@piquboeuf.com; closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

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