Last week Jan and I left the Atlantic Coast town of Arcachon with good friends Keith and Kathy, and headed east toward Daglan. But did we rush to our village right away? Of course not, since we had a chance for a lunch reservation at La Table du Marché in Bergerac, which is more or less between Daglan and Arcachon. And so it was.
I have written about La Table du Marché many times, so loyal readers will know how much Jan and I like the place. Chef Stéphane Cuzin, a Paris native who started his early career at starred restaurants in Paris and Brussels, is one of the most creative chefs around, at least in my view. He always amazes me in his choice of ingredients, his ability to introduce different textures and styles of cooking, and even his creative names for dishes.
Consider my entrée, called Naturellement Libre. It means Naturally Free, and I have no idea how that defines the dish. In any case, it featured a thick slice of roast potimarron, a popular winter squash in France; its name combines the French words for pumpkin and chestnut (since its taste is similar to the flavour of chestnut).
Now a slice of roast squash might sound a bit boring, but Chef served it with pesto vegetal, a condiment Tourin Périgourdin, pickles and young shiso sprouts, and it was wonderful. Have a look:
My main course had an equally odd name: Ephe-Mer. It consisted of a thick slice of cod which was prepared “sel à froid,” and I would love it if a reader could explain what that means. [Afterwards, my good friend Keith did some digging, and wrote: “It looks like a method much like gravlax.”] In any case, it was topped with a slice of sautéed foie gras covered with chopped walnuts, and surrounded by an artichoke cream and jus de vin jaune, a dry wine of the Jura region. The cod and foie gras made a delicious pairing, and again, I loved the dish. Here’s my serving:
Finally came my dessert, cleverly named No Name. It consisted of a light coffee cream atop a centre of cassis sorbet, with poached pear, toasted cereals and — wait for it — slices of mushroom. I’m sure it was the first dessert I’ve ever had that used mushrooms, and the whole dish was really well balanced. Here it is:
The total bill for the four of us, which covered the three-course menus, kirs, two bottles of rosé wine, and coffees, came to a shade under 300 euros. So La Table du Marché is by no means a cheap date, but it’s certainly an excellent place to enjoy interesting and delicious meals.