Thursday, October 23, 2008

Le Relais Gascon

Le Relais Gascon
6, rue des Abbesses
Paris, 75018 (18e)

If CA Scotch Gent's sister's recommendation for pastries was a home run, her suggestion for dinner was a grand slam. Sometimes a dish comes along that is so amazing, one knows one simply must have it again one day, even if it means traveling 5697 miles to do so. And…when that dish happens to be a salad, you know it is really something special.

Le Relais Gascon is a full service restaurant with numerous tempting entrees. However, it is most famous for its over the top amazing Salades Géantes. Le Relais Gascon's Salades Géantes are huge presentations (one blogger described them as arrriving in a baby's bathtub). The best part is that the majority of the salad isn't salad. All of the salads are really nothing more than a platform for Le Relais Gascon's out of this world, garlic infused, perfectly fried potatoes. They start with just enough crisp fresh greens to qualify them as a salad, and then load on those out of this world, garlic infused, perfectly fried potatoes and a satisfying surplus of other evil heart-stopping ingredients. So, despite the size, do not be tempted to split. You will definitely want your own.

"You gonna eat all that?" Definitely!

The specialty of the house is the Salade Gascon, a mouthwatering combination of green salad, tomatoes, smoked duck, foie gras, and, of course, those out of this world, garlic infused, perfectly fried potatoes. Another evil favorite is the Salade Fraîcheur, with salad, tomatoes, fried egg, black olives, smoked ham, bacon, and, of course, those out of this world, garlic infused, perfectly fried potatoes. Oh, and as if the salads themselves aren't enough, for a three Euro surcharge, one can add additional ingredients from the list at the bottom of the menu, such as fried egg, ham, salmon, or goat cheese.

Out of this World, Garlic Infused, Perfectly Fried Potatoes

The two Scotch Gents and CA Scotch Chick were single minded in their ordering - the Salade Gascon was what they had come for! DC Scotch Chick decided to order a different salad with the idea then she and DC Scotch Gent could share and have a little variety. She got the Salade Détente - salad, tomatoes, smoked salmon, cream, olives, and, of course, out of this world, garlic infused, perfectly fried garlic potatoes. However, if DC Scotch Gent had been a pre-schooler, he would have been admonished. That Salade Gascon stayed firmly on his side of the table. As a little buddy of the Scotch Couples would say, "That's not nice." It was CA Scotch Chick who took pity on DC Scotch Chick and shared her foie gras and smoked duck (although pity is a relative term, since DC Scotch Chick's salad was as fantastic as the others). 

Salade Géantes

Looking back, the Scotch Couples cannot remember if there was any dressing on the Salad Gascon. Who cares? It was all about the potatoes. They were packed with flavor, warm, crisp and not in the least greasy. And, they were the perfect counterpoint to the greens and the duck. A forkful of potatoes and greens, a little slice of the foie gras just beginning to melt as it touches the potatoes, and a bit of the duck - absolute heaven. And, having all these evil ingredients on a salad is strangely comforting. Although one can feel the arterial flow slowing as one blissfully works his or her way through the potatoes and foie gras, there is the faint hope that the greens are offsetting the damage one is doing. 

Despite getting the scoop on it from an insider, Le Relais Gascon is not a secret. CA Scotch Chick's research on it uncovered many a blogger extolling its virtues, and it made a Lonely Planet web review. However, the Scotch Couples saw no other tourists there - just happy locals getting their allotment of greens for the day (and cholesterol for the month).  The Scotch Couples will be back!

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