Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cul de Poule (Paris, France)

After a day of rest and recovery, we set off to Paris for the first leg of our honeymoon.  I had been tasked with planning the trip, and to me, one of the most important aspects to get right is the food, of course!  Arguably the food mecca of the world, I was determined to eat well in Paris.  I had also read somewhere that Paris has many tourist traps that can be expensive yet mediocre, and there is not much I despise more than paying for bad food, so I was even more motivated to choose our dining locations wisely.

There were two main sources I consulted for restaurant recommendations: the 2nd edition of the Paris guide (now rebranded as "Rather Paris" - though I still prefer ""), and our Rick Steves travel guide (which, admittedly, we knew would be somewhat hit-or-miss from past experience).  I also got some great ideas from the May 2012 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine which conveniently has an Insider's Guide to Paris.  Belatedly, I had discovered the super cute Paris-centric food blog, Lost in Cheeseland, written by Philly-native-turned-Paris-resident Lindsey Tramuta, though by that point I had pretty much finished planning the Paris leg of the trip, but I thought I'd mention the blog because it is an excellent resource.

The guide offered the most consistently good suggestions for dining in Paris, and it is there that I discovered Cul de Poule.

Our flight had landed in Charles de Gaulle at 6:55 am, and in an attempt to stay awake for another 14 hours, we decided to take a walk around the Montmartre neighborhood.  On our way there, we had lunch at Cul de Poule, near the Pigalle Metro station in the 9th arrondissement, where we sat outdoors.  The name of the restaurant literally means "butt of hen," but it is also what they call a mixing bowl.  The latter is what the server tried to tell me when I asked about the curious name of the restaurant, though judging by the humorous rear end of a chicken mounted on the interior wall, I'd have to conclude that the server was just trying to be polite. Very Parisian, I must say.

Cul de Poule
Cul de Poule in the 9th arrondissement

The menu at Cul de Poule changes daily, and is scrawled on a glass window.

Cul de Poule
Menu du jour

For those not in the know (I didn't before this trip), "entree" actually means appetizer in France, while "plat" refers to the main course.  The lunch consisted of the diner's choice of two courses (entree + plat or plat + dessert) for 15 euros, or it's 18 euros for all three courses.  Both R. and I chose the entree + plat two-course option.

R. chose the Soupe de Poireaux (leek soup) as his entree and Dorade (bream) as his plat.  The bream was fried and came with green beans, zucchini, and grains, dress with what we think is a sesame seasoning.  Both courses were amazing.

Leek Soup at Cul de Poule
Soupe de Poireux (Leek Soup)

Sea Bass at Cul de Poule
Dorade (Bream)

As for me, I couldn't resist the Rillettes d'oie (goose rillettes), which had a strong flavor and was absolutely fantastic.  The salad it comes with has a soy sauce dressing.

Goose Pate at Cul de Poule
Rillettes d'oie (Goose Rillettes)

My plat was Confit de Canard (duck confit) atop some pea puree.  The meat was well seasoned and so tender it fell off the bone.  Definitely some of the best duck confit I've ever had!

Duck Confit at Cul de Poule
Confit de Canard (Duck Confit)

Duck Confit at Cul de Poule
Falling-off-the-bone meat

Amazing rillette and duck confit for 15 euros - our honeymoon was definitely starting out on the right note!

Restaurant info:
Cul de Poule
53 Rue des Martyrs, Paris, France 75009
33 (0)1 53 16 13 07

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Our honeymoon food adventures are archived here.