Like many good New Yorkers, I had come to regard carbs as the enemy.
I’d accepted that Asian noodles were my Delilah. But with a few exceptions — any dish of steak frites that crossed my sight being the main one — I’d been able to stick to this waistline-watching strategy. I would push around (most of my) potatoes on the plate and leave bread (mostly) untouched.
Paris, however, has ruined me.
There were the perfectly baked breads that just demanded to be devoured. The delightfully salty butters that called to you from the table, insisting on being slathered on said perfectly baked breads and then devoured.
And there was the aligot at L’Ambassade D’Auvergne, a lovely little restaurant that specializes in the super elastic dish of melted Laguiole cheese stirred together with mashed potatoes and garlic.
My breaking point came when I set eyes on the aligot.
Fighting it was futile. I admitted defeat and said, “Just take me.”
A guidebook had said that L’Ambassade D’Auvergne puts the “Ohh” in aligot. Having tried it, I’d agree.
These chewy, cheesy mashed potatoes did not turn out to be a one-bite affair — very shortly after my plate hit the table I looked down and realized half my mash had vanished.
There were other highlights of the meal, of course.
The green lentil salad peppered with hefty chunks of bacon was a delight. The lentils were crisp and perfectly done — and, who can argue with the merits of any dish that features big bacon bits? (The restaurant also scored points for leaving a big bowl of the salad by the table for free refills.)
The meal ended on several high notes, including a dense and slightly chewy chocolate mousse.
We particularly liked the deconstructed apple tart, which came in the form of cornets packed with apple and topped with scoops of cinnamon ice-cream.
And there was the dessert of sweet strawberries in a red wine soup with a sprinkle of chopped pistachios that offered a refreshing, light ending to a heavy meal.
But in the end, it was the memory of the potatoes that lingered.
When Phillippe the manager stopped by to chastise us at the end for leaving food on our plates, he noted, “You’re going to have to come back tomorrow morning to finish this!”
He was joking. (We think.) But it wasn’t a half-bad idea.
Having been broken on the no-carbs front, I could see myself scarfing down that aligot for dinner or breakfast.
With bacon, perhaps. And bread, of course.
L’Ambassade D’Auvergne, 22, rue du Grenier Saint-Lazare, Paris, Phone: 01.42.72.31.22