19 Rue Saint-Séverin, Paris, France
01 40 51 08 81
La Luge Paris Reviews
"Classic fantastic" - delicious French food with a great atmosphere Feb 13, 2013
My other half took me to Paris for the weekend as a belated birthday present, and on the Saturday night we wanted to try some traditional French cuisine. Having asked at our hotel where the best places were, and having been told to try the Saint Michel area near Notre Dame, we headed out to find a 'proper' French restaurant - and found La Luge.
I'd taken it into my head that I wanted to try escargot, and La Luge was pretty much the first restaurant that we went to look at after getting off the Metro. We were perusing the menu outside - confirming, to our delight, that the menu was both bilingual and included escargot - when the owner appeared on the doorstep. "Deux?" he asked. "Oui," I replied, to which he firmly gestured us inside. Caught!
The restaurant itself is quite small, with tables lined up in rows (think school canteen) and around the walls. But far from putting us off (we were at the end of a row, and had a seat between us and the other diners at our table), the layout just added to the experience. The furniture is dark wood, neat and clean; the cutlery is heavy and spotless; and the staff are smiley, friendly and attentive. La Luge specialises in fondues, so be prepared for a strong and appetising smell of cheese! The staff speak some English, so if you haven't brushed up on your French and aren't quite ready to be thrown in at the deep end (as we were the night before!) then La Luge is the perfect place to go. It's quite popular with the locals, who seem to flock there for the fondues, so be prepared for a bustling Saturday night atmosphere. (It's worth bearing in mind that the toilets are downstairs and are 2 small cubicles (1 for each sex) with a handbasin between them, so this and the close proximity of the tables mean that this may not be the place to go if you have accessibility needs.)
My partner decided to give frogs' legs a try, while I ordered escargot for my starter. We had veal with mushroom sauce and beef bourguignon respectively for our main courses, and crepes for dessert.
I can only assume that the frogs' legs were perfectly cooked, as I sampled a tiny piece and hastily declined anymore! (My partner ate them all, but it's not something that either of us would order again - this is no reflection at all upon the restaurant, but rather us not being keen on that particular food!) My escargot - served with a special holder and fork and on a silvery dish that presented each escargot individually - was delicious, dripping with garlic butter and beautifully flavoursome. The basket of bread provided at the start of the meal was eagerly used to mop up the juices!
My partner's veal was served with potatoes Dauphinoise and a green salad, and while the veal was a little on the tough side, it was excellently complimented by the sauce and the meal overall had good strong flavours. The potatoes were divine, the salad crisp and fresh, and Graham happily cleaned his plate. My bourguignon, a simply-presented plateful of stew, was everything I could have hoped for: exquisitely cooked, the meat melted in the mouth, the vegetables were perfect, the portion was generous, and I followed Graham in demolishing every bite.
The crepes at La Luge are arranged in 3 different levels: "Classiques", "Formidables" and "Extraordinaires". It goes without saying that we went for the Extraordinaires: Graham's was filled with currants and fresh peaches, flambeed with cognac, and mine was full of fresh pineapple, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and flambeed with raspberry liqueur. Our waitress presented us with the plated crepes and what looked like two tiny milk churns before setting fire to the alcohol in the churns and pouring the blue flames across the desserts: pure magic. Unfortunately, while Graham enjoyed his, and the combination of ice cream and pineapple on mine was heavenly, the taste of the raspberry alcohol was bitter and overpowering, meaning that I had to leave half of my crepe pretty much untouched.
The 3-course meal with drinks (beer and soft drink for Graham, soft drinks for me, and after-dinner liqueurs) came to an even 100 euros with tip (which is why I've marked it as 'Expensive'!). It's worth it for the delicious food and the atmosphere, but even if you're on a budget, the menu has plenty of options - from fondues and coq au vin to tarte tatin and mousse au chocolat. The range of classical French dishes is perfect if you want a taste of traditional cuisine, and the menu is extensive without being overwhelming or compromising on quality.
Paris's La Luge joins Ottawa's Cafe Indochine as one of my favourite restaurants in the world. I can't recommend it highly enough, and I can't wait to go back.
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