During the first time I came to visit Paris, I also had the opportunity to get to know a little bit of the countryside, more precisely the region of lower Normandy. Of course, I didn’t know everything, but I found the amount of small villages very well maintained, with houses and castles from the 16th and 17th century that I found along the way impressive. The places are so beautiful that they look more like scenic cities. It has not yet entered my mind how there can be such beautiful places where people really live. Villages with a maximum of 200 inhabitants and who still have a shopping center, with great patisseries, boulangeries and boucheries available. No matter how isolated the place is, French who are French must eat well always!
In addition to the pâtisseries, boulangeries, boucheries and small medieval castles, these villages still hold other treasures. In fact, hidden treasures from tourists, which are not in modern guides yet. Those are the places you need to know someone, who knows someone who knows the place. And that’s how I met Auberge des Trois J.
This restaurant is located in one of those small medieval houses, called Nocé, in the lower Normandy, and even though it doesn’t even have a traffic light, it has a restaurant with a cuisine and chef worthy of big cities! And you can search for the restaurant on Google that you won’t find much information on, plus a few reviews on Trip Advisor and other sites that mention the name, address and phone number of the place. Well, at least you’ll be able to make a reservation, which is essential! It was my boyfriend who insisted on taking me and he, in a level of boredom and absurd demand for restaurants (things from people in the area), made many compliments about the place. He even said that it seems that the chef of the place “refused” the stars of the Michelin guide that he was offered. He was too “cool” to have his restaurant in a guide like that … so commercial. How can you not love these French people?
Upon arriving at the restaurant, which is part of a small hotel in the region, you will be greeted by a very kind hostess who will take you to your table, without delay. The place has a quiet atmosphere, with that indirect light and a little low, where people almost whisper to talk to each other. The decor is minimalist and elegant, and in fact, I don’t think I needed anything else.
There are several options of dishes on the menu but, as having varied options is something that generates a certain panic, I filled myself with courage and ordered the tasting menu. Lately I have been too lazy to choose dishes in restaurants, because I always want more than one dish and of course I can’t stand eating more than one. Not to mention that sometimes I don’t like what I chose and that “Ah! I should have taken the other… ”. The chef asks if there is anything you don’t like to eat, if you have any allergies, and he will present you with a surprise menu! It was an amuse bouche, a starter, two “main dishes”, a plate of cheeses, desserts and some “firulinhas”, as my friends say, to accompany the coffee. As a drink, I got in the mood and asked the chef to harmonize the dishes with wines in the glass of his choice.
The amuse bouche here is our “cover charge” and each one received a plate with a microscopic salad, breaded shrimp and herb butter in a teaspoon, not forgetting the homemade breads to accompany. Oh yes, they did me a great favor of ordering a white Port wine as an aperitif.The starter was as French as possible: a delicious foie gras with black truffles and cashew nut flour, harmonized with a great Jurançon. For those who have not yet had the pleasure of tasting, foie gras is traditionally served with some dessert wine, usually a Sauternes, but this Jurançon was excellent (but to the dread of the boyfriend, it was “very cold”; the Brazilian thanks!). To those who are terrified of foie gras for environmental or political reasons, I apologize (I ask for nothing), but I never resist a good foie gras! This dish is part of French culture and heritage in the same way as Louvre, Victor Hugo and Napoleon. And they can make whatever noise they want, they will never be abolished.
The first “main dish” that came was a white hake fillet, covered in a light leek sauce, supported by a crunchy puff pastry and sautéed prawns. There were two quenelles of mashed carrots on the plate. Everything with a unique delicacy. It was one of those dishes that you close your eyes during the first mouthful. And during the second, the third, the fourth … Ah yes, a delicious Chardonnay to accompany!
Then, a lamb filet mignon with mint sauce, grilled vegetables, arugula salad with raw ham and a pastry in the middle. I confess that I found the puff pastry a redundant element, considering that in the previous dish there was also. Anyway, the meat was very pink and the dish was very well executed to accompany our Bordeaux glass.
The service at the place is one of those very well trained to be discreet, that you didn’t even notice that your waiter was there, that you don’t know where he is hiding, but as soon as you think of asking for something, it springs up on your side. I prefer that a thousand times to the fawning shadows.
In that part of the dinner I was already quite satisfied when, I think that because I didn’t understand what I said, they asked me for another glass of Bordeaux and a cheese plate. Of the cheeses, all beautifully bizarre and stinky, the way I love, I only managed to have a little bite because I still needed, and yes, I needed, to eat dessert.
The dessert came perfect: a mini version of everything on the menu! A very cute brownie with almond cream ice cream, an apple tartelette, a quenelle of passion fruit sorbet, a fried chocolate truffle and a bowl of mandarins with pistachio and Chantilly cream.
Unfortunately, my momentary torpor made me forget to take a picture of the façade of the place, but it was only to contribute to this mysterious atmosphere of the Auberge de Trois J. The address and phone number I want to leave for you… but if you want to see more, they will need to go there!
And I’m already here dreaming of the day that I’m going back there!
Auberge de Trois J
1 Place du Dr. Paul Gireaux, 61340 Nocé
Tel: +33 02 3373 4103