Saturday, June 19 – Le Croisic: We were last here in October of 2001, after reading an article by Jonathan Reynolds about his meal at one of France’s best known fish restaurants. That’s a story by itself, but we were anticipating coming back and made a reservation at the hotel/restaurant called “L’Ocean” for Saturday evening dinner and a room. Le Croisic, a small peninsula jutting into the Altantic on the Brittany coast (“La Cote Sauvage”), is the Nantucket (or Southampton) of France. We were surprised to discover that the TGV, which goes at super-speed as far as Nantes, continues at regular speed as far as Le Croisic so that the high-ranking French officials who commute from Paris don’t have to change trains.
We arrived at 11am and found the town market, which had just what you;d expect in such a place: the best of the best at premium prices (which we were happy to pay).
We bought a bunch of stuff including some great cherries and strawberries, some pork rillettes, and cheese and went to the seaside to find a place to picnic. Happily, the town had built a pavilion just above the beach for just that purpose.
We spent a lazy afternoon ignoring the fact the it was overcast and cool. Here’s a picture of the hotel which shows the scene:
Here’s the room rate chart of the hotel: which room do you think we were in?
The main event was dinner in the large, well-appointed, and completely-booked dining room. Of course, we dressed up as best we could:
The specialty of the house, which we had in 2001 and remembered as singular in the extreme, was sea bass in a salt crust:
We started with the seasonal asparagus with hollandaise:
and fish soup with rouille:
and then watched as the bass was served tableside (we have a terrific video of the process; ask for it!). First, the crust was cracked open all around:
and then the fish was boned and served:
The end result (that’s the cheek sitting on top of the filet):
The vegetables were disappointing but not the tiny famous potatoes from Noirmoutier (our next destination).