After sending Debbie McMullen off, Nancy and I hopped on a train to Lyon. We spent the night in a very nice hotel (a Marriott) on the Rhone on the north side of Lyon, near the Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s part of a newish mixed use development in the northern end of the city.
The concierge suggested a riverside restaurant focusing on Lyonnaise cuisine, Terrasse Saint Clair, but it is not open on Saturdays. Instead we went to another recommendation within the complex, 33 Cité. It’s a nice, modern place, with lots of light and lots of clean lines — and 33 Cité is a Michelin Bib Gourmand selection.
That night, 33 Cité offered a formule — entrée, plat, dessert — for 27,90€ (or, as we would write, 27.9€), with two choices for each course. They also offer a full menu. We generally get the formules because (a) they’re cheaper, and (b) it saves a lot of wild guessing at the French descriptions of what the various dishes contain.
Nancy had the salade,
That picture doesn’t do it justice. It was a sort of Napoleon, with the tomatoes on the bottom, the avocado in the center, and the feta on top. The tomatoes and avocado were as close to perfect as human endeavor can achieve, and Nancy loved it. I was allowed a taste and confirm her judgment.
I had the terrine.
Lapereau turns out be a young rabbit. The terrine was served cool, and the elements were held together by a very light broth with lots of gelatin, enough gelatin that it was probably made with chicken feet. The bunny had a mild, pleasant flavor, and the vegetables were not overcooked. The accompanying arugula salad was outstanding — the freshest arugula I’ve ever had in a restaurant, as fresh as straight from my garden, and a world away from the boxed stuff at Whole Foods. All in all, it was a lovely appetizer.
For her main course, Nancy had the tajine served over quinoa.
A tajine is a good way to have veal. Veal is very tender, but it lacks flavor as compared with beef, and welcomes a good sauce to boost the flavor. P.J, O’Rourke once observed that, “Veal is a very young beef and, like a very young girlfriend, it’s cute but boring and expensive.” The sauce in Nancy’s tajine was very good. I’m not so intolerant of fruit — here dried dates and others — in savory dishes cooked in tajines, as I am with sugar sources in other cooking methods. The dish was savory, and not excessively sweet. Nancy’s dish was very good.
I had the fish. Mostelle was a new fish variety, or at least a new name, to me. It turns out to be forkbeard, another name new to me. My best guess is that it’s hake.
It was fresh and not over- or under-cooked. The fish was served over a mash of broccoli and courgettes, aka zucchini, mixed with parmesan cheese — pretty good — and a very nice emulsion of mild peppers. I enjoyed it.
To finish, Nancy had the tiramisu.
There was no coffee, cocoa, or cookies in this tiramisu. Instead, the usual mix of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone was flavored with fresh strawberries and a raspberry coulis. It had a lighter, fresh taste, and was very good.
I ordered the clafoutis with cherries. After Jouvence, I knew cherries, but I didn’t know what a clafoutis was (although I like the word).
And now I’m a fan of clafoutis. It had a very good dough, dense and moist in the manner of a great cobbler, and the cherries were fresh and sweet.
This is a very good place to eat. The setting was light and open, the service was good, and the food was fresh and well prepared; all at a good price. No wonder they have a Bib Gourmand designation. If you stay in Lyon for a few days, it will be a nice, light, back-to-Parisian change from traditional Lyonnaise cuisine as served in the bouchons, about which more in the next two posts. Stay tuned.
And while you’re at it, click “follow” on our front page to receive blog posts in your email box. Or bookmark us and check in from time to time. If you’re planning a trip, you can “Search” the name of the city, state, or country for good restaurants (in Europe, usually close to sites, like the Louvre or the Van Gogh Museum, that you’ll want to visit in any event). Comments, questions, and suggestions of places to eat or stories to cover are very welcome. And check out our Instagram page, johntannerbbq.