Down a tiny, unsuspecting alleyway you will find my favorite restaurant for regional specialties, Les Compagnons de la Grappe.
The alleyway opens up into a lovely courtyard. Outdoor tables are available for when there is, on occasion, nice weather. But if it’s rainy and gray, which it probably is, then there’s even more reason to eat there.
The décor makes you feel like you’re inside somebody’s cozy, funky living room. There are bookshelves full of books, a fireplace with knick-knacks on the mantel, an armoire to store the silverware and plates, and a really cool rainbow colored chandelier.
Of course, no matter how cool the interior of a restaurant is, it makes no difference if the food isn’t good. And let me tell you, the food is better than good. It’s amazing.
My favorite item on the menu is their salade au chèvre chaud (salad with melted goat cheese). However, calling it a salade au chèvre chaud is not fair. The menu calls it chèvre affiné rôti sur toast, gratin, salade (melted goat cheese, gratin, and salad) and they have got it right. The main feature is the chèvre. It comes with a giant hunk of goat cheese melted perfectly over a piece of toast, a salad, and a gratin de pomme de terre (potatoes cooked in the oven with cream and other deliciousness).
Admittedly, a salade au chevre chaud belongs to all of France, not just us Nordists (even if it is the best one I’ve ever tasted).
FBF enjoys the regional specialty carbonnade flamande (beef stewed in beer), which can also be found in the Nordist plate. It has four small servings of different regional specalties. It comes with a carbonnade flamande, a welsh (cheddar cheese melted in beer with bacon bits and often times a fried egg on top), a Potsje vlesche (poutlry or fish in gelatin, served cold) and a forth meat filled dish.
Another regional specialty that they have is the tarte au maroilles (a tarte made with a strong, regional cheese called maroille). Although it, too, is a vegetarian option, I cannot say whether or not the one they make is any good. While I do like them in general, I can’t seem to resist the chèvre affiné rôti sur toast.
Of course a French meal isn’t a meal without some wine, and with a restaurant name of Les Compagnons de la Grappe (Friends (or comrades in arms) of a "bunch" of any kind of fruit, but most commonly associated with grapes) has a lot to live up to. Luckily it doesn’t disappoint. The wine menu is multiple pages long.
Be sure to call ahead and get a reservation if planning to go during the weekend, as it is usually crowded (especially on sunny days)!
Check it out:
Les Compagnons de la Grappe
26, rue Lepelletier
Open daily for lunch and dinner.