Comme Chez Soi has been in this location since 1936 and in the same family’s hands since 1916. Laurence Wynants Rigolet’s father had been chef, as was her grandfather and now her husband Lionel is the chef and she looks after the front end. It is a small place with only about 11 tables in the main dining room, but there are small private rooms and two tables in the kitchen. The main dining room is lovely filled with stained glass and dark wood. There is comfortable bench seating along the walls with chairs on the other side of the ample tables. Spacing is good and there are plenty of sound absorbing surfaces in the room so noise is not a problem. The window on one end looks out onto the street and into the kitchen on the other end. It is a lovely room. They offer a la carte, a special lunch menu and a couple of tasting menu options. We chose the 5 course menu. Service is impeccable and well paced along with being super friendly (and they speak great English).
While enjoying the house cocktail of gin, white wine, creme de cassis and Cointreau they brought out some tasty amuse. There was a marinated mackerel with onion and jelly and sauces that really made this one good. Atlantic pilchard with garden vegetables and lemon that was nice and sorrel sauce that was mixed with chewy, tender pieces of eel that was fun, rounded out the plate. Breads were house made with beer and came in white and wheat.
The first course was shrimp with smoked salmon, crab and grilled scallop. It was all cold having been cooked to perfection. The various dots of sauce gave you lots of flavor options – all fresh, mild and blending well.
Beef oxtail was underneath a nice piece of halibut and served with pea puree and oyster. There was a bit of spice and the broth made it almost like a soup. There was a good depth of flavor to the dish. A success here.
The rack of lamb was paired with slow cooked shoulder meat and enhanced with a leek and butter sauce. The lamb had a nice mild flavor and was quite tender. Also on the plate were turnips, scallions, tomato, peppers, olives and pine nuts. It was a nice combination of flavors and textures.
The first dessert was strawberry in different forms – coulis, fresh, in meringue with a violet crispy. It was a series of excellent flavors and felt light to eat.
The second dessert was chocolate ganache with pistachio foam and cashews. It was another nice combination of flavors. It was tasty but the strawberry was my preference.
Extra treats included apple macaroons, verbena and lemon custard with sesame, and a smooth custard of yuzu and chicory with a crisp crust. The lemon was easily my favorite here. After lunch our nice waiter, Thierry Jacques, offered to give a look in the kitchen a tour of their new wine cellar. It is huge and remarkable!