Dish du jour — 2010/08/30

Salmon has become the chicken breast of seafood. It’s ubiquitous, it’s prepared in all kinds of styles, and it’s often boring and blah. (In the case of salmon, oily and flabby and even mushy; in the case of chicken breast, dry and tasteless.) But the smoked salmon at La Petite Tonnelle (the Little Arbor) in Beynac, about 20 minutes from Daglan, is absolutely delicious. I’m not exactly sure why, but it may be the best smoked salmon I’ve ever had. It’s not oily or flabby, it has a wonderful consistency and excellent taste (a touch of spice on the surface, and not overly smoky), and it’s served as a very elegant entrée. As you’ll see below, the plate includes grilled bread, a lemon slice, a small dish of wasabi-flecked cream, and a small salad. So this was my lunch today:

Lunch in Beynac, France

House-smoked salmon with trimmings

The day itself was perfect too: a rich blue sky with hardly a cloud, temperature in the low to mid-20s, and a light breeze. The setting is lovely as well. This is the view across the street from the restaurant:

Our view across the street from our restaurant

What we see across the street

The restaurant, La Petite Tonnelle, is equally lovely. A few tables are located on the relatively small terrace, underneath the grape arbor. Inside the setting is dramatic, as the restaurant has been carved into the walls of the limestone cliff that dominates Beynac. Looking from the small street that leads up to Chateau Beynac, this is what La Petite Tonnelle looks like:

Restaurant in Beynac, France

The terrace of La Petite Tonnelle

The larger setting is grand as well. Our restaurant lies near the foot of the large hill on which is perched Chateau Beynac, one of the grandest of all the castles that dot the Dordogne River valley, and the one that was owned for a time by Richard the Lionheart. It’s stunning to look up and see this:

The chateau high above the village of Beynac, France

The view up to the chapel, with the main castle behind it

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This entry was posted in French food, Life in southwest France. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dish du jour — 2010/08/30

  1. Rob West says:

    Um .. could you please arrange to have a pissy day, or a bad meal? Even once. Your blogs are reminding me that I am here and not there. But soon … sooooon ……

  2. Michael Stokely says:

    Again yum… I had a quick Thai lunch for $7 in a food court today.

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