My wife Jan and I had eaten many times at La Récréation in the past, but hadn’t visited there in a few years. However, we made up for the omission a few weeks ago, when we headed south to Les Arques for lunch there with our Daglan neighbour, Babs. And all three of us were really pleased with the experience.
Before I show off the food, here’s a look at the restaurant, which is located in a former school house. This photo was taken just outside the gate that opens up to a large courtyard:
For some useful background, here’s an excerpt from the posting called “Sweets for the sweet,” that I published a full seven years ago (October 2010):
La Récréation is a marvellous little restaurant in the tiny village of Les Arques, about 40 minutes south of Daglan. Its fame has grown because of a book called From Here, You Can’t See Paris by the American writer Michael Sanders. And while the book is ostensibly about spending a year in the restaurant business in the southwest of France, it really offers a rich description of the area’s people, landscape, politics and history. If you’re interested in France at all, I think it’s worth a read; you can find out more at http://www.michaelssanders.com/fromhere.html … The restaurant’s name means “recess,” referring to our favourite period in school, when we ran around the school yard like maniacs.
And now we can move along to the food itself, at our recent lunch. To begin, we were offered fresh marinated anchovies, served on thin strips of toast, as an amuse bouche. Then, as a standard part of the 38-euro menu, we each had a bowl of soup that was billed as gazpacho, but which was more like a normal tomato soup. Wrong billing, but warming and delicious in any case.
Then came our entrées, and I (wisely) chose my long-time favourite at La Récré — the lobster-filled ravioli, with sauce corail, which is a rich sauce made from lobster eggs, known as the coral in English. I believe this has been on the menu for years, and for good reason. Here is my plate:
Fortunately a large basket of fresh bread was on the table, as the sauce simply had to be mopped up after I finished the ravioli themselves.
Next, for my main course, I had a filet de bar (sea bass) served with a variety of vegetables, and yet more sauce corail:
My dessert was a nice concoction, bringing together the flavours of chocolate, raspberry, and a pistachio foam. Here it is:
Aside from the food, a few other factors contributed to our good experience. For one, it was a beautiful sunny day, with barely a whisper of wind. Sitting in the courtyard gave us that taste of summer, even though it was autumn.
Another reason for happiness was the excellent, prompt service — which was all the more surprising because the courtyard was crowded with diners. We had feared long waits between courses, but were delighted with the quick (but not rushed) service. All in all, a place to visit again.