A ma Vigne is a small place with just 2 dining rooms, one containing the bar, and a tiny kitchen in back. The closely spaced small tables are set with nice white tableclothes and napkins and then covered with white paper. The casual atmosphere is heightened with the array of art, photos (done by the server Alex) and mirrors along with windows to the street decorating the walls. They had a large menu that was not translated and served all day and a set menu of 2 or 3 courses that featured their famous steak in butter and fries. They had wine by the bottle as well as by centiliter, as well as lots of cocktails. It didn’t take long at lunch for the place to be packed and most seemed to be repeat customers and having a good time. Service was really friendly, welcoming and helpful yet staffing was minimal – one guy sat people, took orders, dispensed the food, took care of billing and cleaned the tables and one guy did all the cooking and kitchen cleanup. The guy who did all the cooking was actually Chef and Owner Stéphane Giraud, whose grandparents started the place. His grandmother Josephine, perfected the amazing French fries. Food was great as was the ambiance. It was really reasonable for the quality of flavor. I would go back here in a heartbeat – check it out if you can. The server told us that Paul Bocuse ate steak and fries there every day for years and showed us the table he always sat at. I can see why.
While you make your choices they brought a bowl of cubed sausages. It tasted okay but such a nice gesture.
We started with a plate of Saucisson cru de chez “Bobosse” that was served with cornichons, pickled onion and butter for the bread that also arrived. Bread had a really crispy crust with a chewy and airy interior that was really moist. This pork sausage is a classic in Lyon and was very good, a bit tough to cut but I think it was more hand food to be bitten apart. It was a generous portion.
The steak was rare as requested, which was great considering that it was a fairly thin piece of meat. It was not surprisingly tender and very full of rich beefy flavor. That could have to do with the browned butter sauce it was served in. I had a good vantage point to watch the plating operation. The meat is brought out sizzling from the kitchen and divided onto the plates and then the drippings from the cooking pan is spooned on top of the meat. The combination of browned butter with meat drippings is a totally simple yet wonderful sauce. It truly burst with flavor. Alongside was an order of fries to share. A generous pile of the crispest most wonderful fries ever. Full of potato on the inside they were delightful dipped in the steak drippings. A real yum of a plate.
We had a slice of orange tart for dessert and it was luscious. A tasty creamy inside was a wonderful mix of sweet and tart on a totally buttery, flakey crust. This was a yum x3!
As we were chatting with the owner while paying the bill he offered us a celebratory glass of Chartreuse. This was one of the times when you know all this travel and restaurants is worth it.