While restaurants in the Greater Daglan Area have been open for a while, my wife Jan and I had been cautious about eating in confined public spaces, and so we had been using the take-out option (as loyal readers will know). But yesterday we went for the real thing — and had an enjoyable experience and a wonderful meal.
The occasion was a drive (lasting a bit more than two hours) to Toulouse, where I had a medical appointment. Our friends Richard and Rosemary had volunteered to drive, and so the four of us set out from Daglan at about 10 a.m. We arrived at the restaurant just five minutes or so before the time of our reservation, at 12:30.
The restaurant is located pretty much in the heart of Toulouse, and it specializes in one thing — fresh seafood. Its name? See the place mat below:
Jan had eaten at Chez Jeannot several times, but this was a first for me. Right from the start, I knew why she had raved about it: A warm welcome at the door, a clean and sophisticated decor, and professional service. Here’s one look at the restaurant, towards the entrance (where there is a large tank containing live lobsters):
And here’s another view from our table. Note that the walls show what types of seafood are available on that day, as well as the prices. If there is no price next to the name of a particular item, it means that the seafood is not available. In other words, you’re quite sure you’ll be eating fresh food. You’ll also note that the restaurant has a nice “nautical” theme, without being over the top, and that it’s bright and clean-looking:
Once the four of us were settled at the table, we each had a kir and then set about ordering. We opted to start with fine de claire oysters as an entrée, and ordered a dozen — six for me, and six for the others to share. As a matter of interest, here’s some information on this type of oyster, from the Marennes Oléron website:
The fine de claire is for those who prefer a less fleshy oyster. These oysters are finished for several weeks in shallow clay ponds where they acquire a superior quality shell to oysters grown in the open sea. It is during this process that the claires of the Marennes Oléron basin impart the subtleties of regional flavours. This oyster is particularly appreciated by the consumer who prefers an oyster rich in water and balanced in flavour.
Here’s the ice-covered platter on which our oysters were served:
At a neighbouring table, we saw a man devouring a plate of grilled gambas (a shellfish somewhat larger than shrimp), and both Jan and Rosemary were convinced that this was the dish for them. And rightly so, as you’ll see from this look at Jan’s plate:
Richard’s choice for the plat principal was a sautéed turbotin (a small turbot) which he said he really enjoyed. As for me, I was in a “go-big-or-go-home” mood, after the half-dozen oysters, and so I ordered a whole blue lobster with mayonnaise, at 38 euros. It came on a large platter of chipped ice, with several shrimp tossed in for good measure. Oh, and a side order of frites. Here’s the serving:
Still operating at maximum velocity, I was the only one of the four of us to order dessert, and chose the tarte tatin, one of my all-time favourites. My portion was certainly tasty, but it didn’t seem like a classic version — in which you can usually spot the individual slices of apple. Of course I devoured it, but as you can see in the photo below, the filling looks a bit mushy:
My final thought was simply that I wish more restaurants could be like this: Specializing in one type of food and doing it very well. Having well-qualified, friendly and professional staff (and by the way, all the staff wore face masks at all times, and cleaned each table and chair vigorously after customers had departed). And sporting a smart, well-lighted décor.
The details: Chez Jeannot is located at 1 Rue de Bayard, Toulouse. The phone number is 05 – 61 – 62 – 43 – 46. And right next to the restaurant is a shop selling the same fresh seafood. If you have a reason to be in Toulouse, I’ve just given you another reason.