Repaire de Cartouche, Paris, France

This is a superb bistro with a great wine list (super Rhônes as well as other offerings) that merits attention from serious eaters. They serve generous portions of impeccably well-made classic bistro fare. After a couple of glasses of the house Champagne an American diner sent several glasses of D. Laurent's 1999 Gevrey-Chambertin to our table. It was disappointingly acidic and thin, with a light ruby color and no real fruit. It made quite a contrast to the 1998 Rayas Châteauneuf du Pape, a sumptuous, rich, elegant, flavorful wine with loads of raspberry and cherry fruit intermixed with smoke, leather, and underbrush. As it has since day one, it was drinking beautifully, and seems to be putting on some much needed weight. The freshness of the seafood was a notable highlight as well as the sumptuous braised stew of beef and vegetables simply called pot au feu.

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