Courte Paille

I guess it’s sheer perversity that’s sending me to these casual dining, American-like, chain restaurants here in France when I know that for the same price, I can have some of the best food in the world, in a calm, civilized atmosphere.   Perversity, curiosity and the fact that M. Parrett told me that the food in this chain was “correct”.   High praise indeed, coming from Mr. there’s-only-one-way-to-cook-prime-rib.

The Courte Paille was, indeed,  “correct”.  The food was attractive and edible, the service American-like attentive and the seating comfortable, although all the window seats were taken and I couldn’t shoot into the light.  Sorry Roger.

Jade and I were seated almost immediately and served a big basket of fresh baguette and a “welcome salad” with a ranch like dressing to nibble on while we waited for our meals.   At this time, our drink orders were taken and Jade had an Orangina, while I chose a glass of Chardonnay with a Gallo Mountain Chablis in the jug finish.  You are never going to get decent wine in these places, so drink before you come or learn to like Gallo.

Jade chose the onion tart with Serrano ham for an entree.   Well plated, the tart include caramelized onions that were a perfect counterpoint to the ham.

I chose the ratatouille with creme fraiche and chives.   Really good.

For her main course, Jade chose the boudin noir with frites.   Boudin noir is included in the August special for the Courte Paille (mini-boudin noir brochettes with apricots) and it was good with nice tender crisp pieces of onion in the stuffing.  Not as good as the master boudin maker’s in the market, but good.

I chose the salmon and cabillaud in papillote with vegetables.   It was okay, “correct”.

Jade’s dessert of 3 different scoops of ice cream was rather disappointing.  The picture on the menu was deceiving or the kitchen staff was in a hurry; I scraped ice cream off the outside of the glass in order to take a decent picture.   Still, she liked it.

The Cafe Gourmand looked boring, so I settled for a plain cafe.

One thing Jade and I both noticed; the Courte Paille caters to an older clientele than the other French casual dining restaurants and their success at drawing this clientele, I think, has a lot to do with the correctness of the food.

About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
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10 Responses to Courte Paille

  1. I don’t know whether you spotted that “Courte Paille” means “Short Straw”, which in English idiom – drawing the short straw – means getting the worst of what’s on offer! Maybe not an ideal restaurant chain name. It rivals the English car that the manufacturers launched in Spain with the name – Vauxhall Nova – which means “doesn’t go”. I have to say, although I’ve never visited one, the food looked far better than I could ever have imagined.

    • If you are traveling on the road in France and need to stop somewhere for a quick lunch and continue your trip, you can always get something that will not totally gross you out in this chain. Skip the wine.

  2. Kind of breaks my heart to see the words “American like” and not even be able to say no, because boy is it true. I wish chains weren’t so almighty here. Looks like you had some good stuff though.

    • Don’t feel bad Gregg. We are Americans and we have a lot to be proud of, like other countries. The French are not the end all and be all of the world. They have good stuff, like us, and bad stuff, like us. We have to learn to take the good from each culture and enjoy. I’m having fun!

  3. French friends have told me that they and their other friends go to Courtepaille because the beef is very good. I had dinner in a Courtepaille at Roissy one night before flying out very early the next morning, and it was certainly correct. Even memorable — it was quite entertaining to people-watch in there and see all the different foreigners try to figure out the food. The Québécois couple sitting next to me at their salad with their fingers. I don’t think I’d ever seen anybody do that before. I overheard the young French couple sitting on the other side of me having a little argument because the guy had gotten them to the airport 24 hours too early for their upcoming flight. They were stuck there for another whole day. Oops!

    I also had a lunch at a Courtepaille on the autoroute near Poitiers three years ago, and again it was fine. When you are traveling a long distance in a short time, Courtepaille is a good place to stop for lunch or dinner. Calling it American-style, though — well, I’m not sure. It’s better than most American chains, but then I’m prejudiced in favor of France.

  4. ambrosiana says:

    Your review is quite interesting and a learning experience. Excellent I would say. I guess every country has its good things and bad things, and Italy does not escape from this stereotype. I am not American so I guess my view is unbiased. It bothers me that some countries tend to criticize Americans for this and for that, yet most of these countries imitate Americans in many things (including its food chains). Ironic isn’t it?

    • It is that, ambrosiana. France does bistros, cafes and small, neighborhood restaurants best; my opinion is that they should stick to that. The French are very proud of their food and wine heritage, the large chain restaurants cannot do justice to that, although as I said, the Courte Paille was “correct” as far as the food was concerned but I am always disappointed to find duplicates of America in France or really, in any other country. If I’m in China, I want to experience China and Chinese cuisine, not Kentucky Fried Chicken(there’s one in Beijing and Xian). They say that imitation is the best form of flattery and I guess I should be proud of that as an American but I’m not, as far as restaurants are concerned. An imitation of our work ethic would be good 🙂

  5. Oh, I totally disagree about the work ethic thing.

    • Of course the opinions expressed on my blog are my own, formed from my experiences of 30 years, maybe a little more, but I certainly encourage vistors to express theirs .

  6. Pingback: Courte Paille Revisited | Cooking in Sens

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