Au Coin de la Rue
We visited Au Coin de la Rue for the first time in the fall of 2014. Our food, while very good and well-prepared lacked a bit of spark. The chef would later admit he had been hesitant at the time. The restaurant had recently opened and he was still feeling his way in terms of the flavors and his diners' preferences. His cooking, though unmistakably French, regularly has pinches of unexpected flavors, partly inspired no doubt by his charming Cambodian wife.
A year and a half later, there is no doubt that this same chef is at the height of his powers. Au Coin de la Rue is regularly packed for lunch and dinner and has displaced Cornélius as our favorite place in town.
Our recent visit (re-)confirmed this feeling. There was no way a ravioli stuffed with ricotta under a gratinée of cheese and herbs was going to be bad, but the terrine of chicken liver was sensational. The appreciably well seasoned (cracked black pepper) and manifestly fresh organ meat was flecked with chunks of fat which became silky as the spring sun under which we ate warmed both us and the dish. The onion jelly added earthiness and sweetness to create a perfect bite. Honestly, this was one of the best things I ever put in my mouth. It’s even more impressive that the entire thing was homemade. Charcuterie isn’t complicated, but it isn’t easy either. Like so many delicacies, it starts from ingredients of pristine quality. Done properly, it will only require the lightest of touches.
Our main dishes were veal tartare, again perfectly fresh with a hint of preserved lemon, and tender beef cheeks with five spice in a lovely sweet and salty glaze over a velvety purée of potatoes. My young son ate his cod with vegetables like it was his last meal.
The cheese on the menu at Au Coin de la Rue never changes. It’s always several three-millimeter thick slices of Ossau-Iraty, my favorite sheep’s cheese from the Basque country in the deep southwest of France at its border with Spain. I asked the chef about it this past visit because it is, without fail, a consistently excellent product, well aged and delicious, and one of the best of its type I’ve eaten. It comes from a small producer and he buys it at Rungis, the huge market of Paris, once located decades ago at Les Halles in the middle of town, now just before Orly airport south of the city.
I can’t speak highly enough of this place. It’s just awesome.
Au Coin de la Rue, 20 rue Rivay, 92300 Levallois-Perret