Wednesday, August 25, 2010

L'Avant Comptoir

I've already written about my love for Le Comptoir de Relais. Now its time to give some of that love to the standing-room only wine and French hors d'oeuvres (not tapas) bar next door, L'Avant Comptoir. Literally, it translates to before Comptoir and it makes sense because people waiting for their tables would drink a glass of wine here. The hostess from next door would pop in every so often saying "deux pour Comptoir" seeking would-be diners. Once, those deux were nowhere to be found and BB and I seriously contemplated asking for their table since the next availability for dinner on a weeknight there (when there is a €50 prix-fixe) is somewhere around November (might be December by now for all I know).

Inside, a zinc bar (very Parisian) fits maybe 5-6 people at most and has a basket of freshly baked (warmed?) mini baguettes, pain d'epi and rolls, as well as Bordier butter (oh how I adore you), cornichons and pickled pearl onions, Guerande fleur de sel and piment d'espelette. All communal, all help yourself to as much as you want, and yes, we helped ourselves to many, many cornichons.

Both wines I had were great. I started with a Lapierre Morgon from that was absolutely delicious (I found it at Crush in NYC and am making JP buy bottles!). I wanted a beaujolais next but Eric (I assume he was the manager? he basically ran the show, seemed to know everyone and was quite funny and helpful) said no and poured me a glass of Villemade Cheverny which had also quite good. Frankly, I barely know anything about wine so I'll listen to the guy pouring it and take his advice. For me, the $4 white zinfandel from Trader Joe's is also delicious.

Moving on. BB and I got the ham croquettes which were fried to order (as they should be!) and they were filled with liquified cheese and tiny pieces of ham that melted on your tongue. 

And then we got the pate en boite which was essentially a tin of pate with a layer of fat on top. Notice the knife.

The pate was ok. But I kept slathering the Bordier butter on my bread. And, being charcuterie fiends, we couldn't say no and got both chorizo and jambon. Essentially, a delicious meat fest. Can't wait to go back.

Update: have gone back. delicious again. will go back. again.

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