Le Limousin

  La rentrée (back-to-school) is upon us and my husband and I thought it would be a good time to get out of Paris to try to preserve our sanity for one more day. We were invited by a colleague to join her in Versailles, where we experienced a glorious morning touring the quartier Notre-Dame, far from the hoards of tourists filing into the château. Unable to join us for lunch, our colleague escorted us to a quiet pedestrian street very near the palace and recommended the restaurant Le Limousin for a hearty midday meal. She told us that they specialized in gigot d’agneau (leg of lamb). As none of the other restaurants on the street looked as though they had menus substantial enough for our Sunday dinner appetites, we did not hesitate. We bid our colleague goodbye and boldly walked through the door without a reservation. We immediately saw that the room was full of people contentedly munching morsels of lamb and scooping up gratin dauphinois that looked sinfully delicious. The pleasant sounds of hushed conversation and the clink of tableware on plates was reassuring. A huge man behind the bar was pouring champagne and preparing a dish of olives for a table, while a slender waiter slipped behind him to look for something in the refrigerator. I looked around the room, looked at the large man, and asked somewhat sheepishly if he had a table for two. He smiled generously and said that there was room on the first floor, and asked us to wait. A few minutes later, the waiter accompanied us to the first floor of the restaurant. In passing through the main dining room, I spied a carving table covered with the sliding stainless steel lid that harbored the lamb. My mouth watered with anticipation! Upstairs, the decor consisted of red velour-covered benches along dark gold walls that displayed old posters of the railways that served the south and the west of France. Gold tulip-shaped frosted glass lamp fixtures were affixed to the walls, and the windows were hung in the same textured fabric that covered the benches. I noted with pleasure that there were no ashtrays on the tables, and one couple who came up was escorted down again when they asked the waiter if they could smoke. (I hadn’t dared to ask for a no-smoking table upon entering because we had no reservation.) Later I noted that there was a large adjoining room, and that the tables in that room did have ashtrays. I was happy that it was not being used for lunch service that particular Sunday. We both ordered the gigot, but my husband ordered the flageolets as an accompaniment while I ordered the gratin. We were surprised when these side dishes were served before we had finished our aperitifs, and thought that we might be in for a meal with poor service. (The waiter also forgot to take our aperitif order and neglected to ask us how we wanted our meat cooked). But since he brought everyone else’s side dishes up before serving their main dishes, we concluded that this was house policy (at least for those dining upstairs). The gigot arrived soon afterward, and we tucked into our plates with relish. The meat was faintly pink, juicy and tender. The side dishes were delectable; the perfect accompaniment for the lamb. Our only complaint was that they were not piping hot. To our surprise and delight, the waiter returned to ask if we wanted another serving of lamb! I readily accepted, but controlled myself enough to ask for only one additional slice. The waiter later told me that this too is house policy – everyone ordering the specialty of the house has the opportunity to receive an additional serving. For dessert, the tarte aux framboises that was the pâtisserie du jour was sold out by the time we got to this course. My husband opted for the œufs à la neige (meringue served with crème anglaise). The egg whites looked as though they had been whipped in the kitchen, and were topped with a light caramel sauce and lots of sliced toasted almonds. There was ample crème anglaise in the bowl, so my husband pronounced his satisfaction with this dessert. I chose a combination of ice cream and sorbet. These were good but nothing special. I think that I have been spoiled forever by Italian ice cream, so that nothing else seems to measure up anymore. The menu at Le Limousin offers traditionally French dishes. Though the restaurant specializes in meats, there are also several fish dished from which to choose. There are a number of entrees, side dishes, cheeses and desserts as well, making for a hearty menu. The wine list offers a reasonable variety of choices, but few half-bottles. Prices range from 115 FF for the gigot, 78 FF-148 FF for the other meat dishes, and 88 FF-158 FF for the fish dishes. Desserts and cheeses range from 32 FF to 50 FF. Prices in Euros are not yet on the menu, but the bill presents the price in both French Francs and in Euros. The decor downstairs is roughly the same as upstairs, except that there are old photos and illustrations as well as affiches (posters) that were used to promote beverages like Pernod and Lillet. There are two dining rooms downstairs, and here you will definitely feel that you are having Sunday supper at someone’s home. The service is friendly, if not the most efficient, and the food makes you forget the little imperfections in the service. Sidewalk dining is available. Overall, we had a wonderful experience at Le Limousin. We will not hesitate to return there. Le Limousin1, rue de Satory, 78000 Versaillestel: open every day from noon to midnight —Monique Y. Wells is co-owner of Discover Paris!  – Personalized Itineraries for Independent Travelers as well as the author of Food for the Soul – A Texas Expatriate Nurtures her Culinary Roots in Paris and Paris Reflections  –  Walks Through African-American Paris (co-authored with BP writer/editor Christiann…
Previous Article Why We Love The 6th Arrondissement
Next Article Salon du Chocolat