Lindry: Les Grès
July 5, 2012
With charming old towns like Sens, Joigny and Auxerre to discover, and a beautiful landscape of farms, forests and vineyards, the Yonne, the northernmost département of Burgundy, has long been one of my favorite easy weekends out of Paris. During the last few years, it’s also seen a new generation of talented young chefs setting up shop. The latest is the self-taught Jérôme Bigot, who has taken over the old village bar-tabac in Lindry and turned it into Les Grès, an excellent casual-dining bistrot de campagne. Bigot’s brief menus read like haiku—each dish is described only by its ingredients, and the list changes constantly according to the season and his restless imagination.
The almost insolent originality of these gustatory miniatures is not only playing to a local audience, but also luring Parisians into the countryside. When friends and I stopped by for dinner recently, we were intrigued by the “sweet onions/pear/trout eggs” offering, which arrived as caramelized slices of pear with a whole baked onion, cut open and garnished with trout eggs, in a pool of creamed onions. As innocent as the dish first seemed, its culinary punctuation was superb, with the varying sweet tones of onion and pear tempered by the saltiness of the fish eggs. A main course of braised curried pig cheeks on a bed of wheat berries established an improbable but delicious liaison between the Yonne and India, with a dab of faisselle— fresh white cheese—that was gently sour, like yogurt-based Indian lassi.
Dessert—ripe Epoisses cheese drizzled with honey and topped with fine slices of celery root and walnut oil—was as delicious as it was odd. There’s a short but excellent list of local wines, including the local red Irancy. This plucky little place is only 15 minutes from the A6 autoroute, making it a terrific lunch stop for travelers heading south.
9 rue du 14 Juillet, Lindry (Yonne), 09.52.31.64.10. Lunch menus €16 (Wed–Fri), €20 (Sat–Sun); Dinner à la carte €35, tasting menu €45.
Prices are approximate, per person without wine.
Originally published in the June 2012 issue of France Today
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