Brasserie L’Est – Lyon

Thanks to some last minute recommendations from friends, a small travesty was averted. We arrived in Lyon on Sunday – a day when most restaurants are closed. Fortunately, Brasserie L’Est, owned by the inimitable Paul Bocuse. A brasserie, I was a bit overwhelmed with haute cuisine and desirous of simpler fare. There is a bit of a circus feel to the restaurant when you enter, with movie posters of train movies on the walls and a model train running around a track, just below the ceiling. An open kitchen (with a microphone for the head chef) puts you in the middle of the action. It was all perfectly charming.

Trying to be frugal, I ordered a set menu that included duck pâté, fresh fish with spring vegetables, a cheese course, and a dessert. He-Who-Knows-No-Bounds ordered all of his standard favorites; pâté de foie gras, escargots, and beef tartare. Both pâtés were excellent and has inspired me to reacquaint myself with my terrine moulds upon my return. I used to make quite a lot of them and with summer coming, will make many excellent warm-day meals. The escargots, for the second time on this trip, were served in small individual cups instead of the classic snail shell. These seemed a tad smaller than whose we shared at London’s Papillion, but equally as tasty.

The fish and vegetables were plentiful – all most too plentiful. I was quickly getting full. The vegetables were slightly overdone for my taste (I like a bit of tooth and all these tended towards soft). The tartare was served with a side of potatoes, served atop of small burner, and a salad that went entirely un-eaten. Like Papillion again, I found this tartare to be a bit heavy on the Worcestershire but the including of capers and cornichons and the quality of the beef were still excellent. I guess I am a bit spoiled with my temple of perfection, Bix. For my cheese, I was served a half-round of Brillat-Savarin and the dessert was a recommendation of the waiter, the classic meringue with ice cream, whipped cream, raspberry sauce, and fresh fruit. All lovely.

Interestingly, when we arrived at 7:45 p.m., we one of the first parties to arrive. By 8:15 the place was hopping with nary an empty seat. We both remarked at the agility and quickness of the staff and specifically admired the maître’d/head-waiter who bussed tables, offered service, called cabs, and moved with the deftness of a cat. There was never a wait, our wine glasses were never empty, but we never felt intruded upon.

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One Response to “Brasserie L’Est – Lyon”

  1. Lucy V Says:

    Dear Carolyn, we were so sorry to have missed your e-mail and the chance to meet you! Next time in Lyon for sure! – Lucy

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