January 5, 2010
Restaurant le 26
Our wedding anniversary falls between Christmas and New Year's and out here in our little corner of France that means that most of our favorite local restaurants are closed for the holidays.
Every year we waver back and forth between wanting to try something new and possibly being disappointed, or going back to an old standby that isn't very exciting but is rapport qualité-prix.*
After last year's foam and pop-rock filled lunch fiasco at an old favorite, we were feeling rather jaded. The lunch was delicious but sadly the chef has gone to the dark side (i.e. molecular gastronomy) and I don't enjoy eating in a science lab.
Though I must commend them on their gorgeous cheese cart.
In the end we decided to be adventurous and try something new.
After searching online a bit I stumbled across a little place in Narbonne called Restaurant le 26. The diner's reviews were all positive and we liked the look of the menu so I called them up and made a reservation for our 10th anniversary lunch.
And what a lunch it was!
The €19,90 Menu d'Affaires offered Oeuf Brouillé au Truffes as a starter, Brochette de St Jacques et Crevettes sur son Risotto as a main course and either a cheese plate or Mousse aux Framboises for dessert. One could also order two of the three courses for a reasonable €14,50.
I almost went for one of the higher priced menus that offered both cheese and dessert, but the eggs and truffles sounded too good to pass up.
It was the right choice.
The eggs had a fluffy, creamy texture and the flavor was delicate and slightly earthy from the little nuggets of truffle that were studded throughout the dish. The light drizzle of red wine reduction gave a hint of tanginess that perfectly complimented the eggs.
The kitchen had run out of risotto by the time we ordered (we reserved rather late - only two hours before lunch) so they offered crushed potatoes instead. They were purple! I loved it!
The scallops and shrimp were expertly grilled and remained succulent and tender, and the sauce tasted like a lobster reduction and was so delicious that I wanted to pick up the plate and lick off every last drop.
But I restrained myself.
The entire dish was perfection.
Half a little Pélardon des Corbières and a wedge of Tomme de Brebis
Of course I opted for cheese over dessert and the duo they brought out were superbly ripe specimens from my favorite Fromagerie in les Halles.
Husband ordered the Raspberry Mousse. It arrived with a crunchy, caramelized florentine that contrasted perfectly with the airy, sweet mousse.
The owners, Frédéric and Sandrine Nalais, hail from Normandy where M. Nalais worked as Gilles Tournadre's sous chef for several years. The couple moved south about ten years ago and opened le 26 two and a half years ago.
The menu is comprised of fresh, seasonal ingredients and offers a sophisticated breath of fresh air to the dining scene in Narbonne. The ambiance is intimate, warm and welcoming and the restaurant is incredibly good value.
Restaurant le 26 est un vrai bijou!
Restaurant Le 26
8, boulevard du Docteur LACROIX
11 100 NARBONNE
04 68 41 46 69
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