At Pinxo, an Alain Dutournier restaurant, pride of place is given to ingredients from Gascony, the chef’s homeland in south-west France. Pinxo offers elegant, delicious and convivial cuisine at affordable prices.
Starring the Place Vendôme, the Jardin des Tuileries, the Louvre and the gardens of the Palais-Royal, Paris’s 1st arrondissement is truly exquisite. History oozes from every corner and the quarter bustles with activity: ministers, politicians, businessmen and women, fashion designers, actors and actresses of the Comédie-Française, tourists and locals all cross paths in the First. There are plenty of curious shops here and there, starting with the detective agency of the Rue du Louvre with a sign dating from 1913 offering to shadow just about anyone (filatures en tous genres) and continuing with the pipe purveyors, collectible medals vendors and music box shops waiting beneath the galleries of Rue Montpensier and Rue Beaujolais.
This is also one of Paris’s most brilliant quarters for fine dining. If you can’t justify the expense of a meal at the Ritz, the Meurice, the Carré des Feuillants or the Grand Véfour, book a table at Pinxo, Rue d’Alger, just opposite the Tuileries. Created by Alain Dutournier, this restaurant serves delicious and elegant cuisine of the Gascogne within a refined decor featuring an open kitchen. In the Gascon dialect, ‘Pinxo’ means ‘to take with the fingers’. While not a tapas bar - the genre has lost something of its panache - this informal restaurant focuses on straightforward and enjoyable fare. The attractive 21 € prix fixe lunch menu offers patrons a choice between a generous portion of the casserole du jour followed by a gourmet coffee or a sizeable open-faced sandwich - such as the marinated salmon tartare, cucumber and dill - served with a bitter-sweet salad and followed by a pineapple-green tea sherbet dessert: quick, light and effective!
Dutournier has given command of the kitchen over to the cook who was once his second at the Carré des Feuillants. Fabrice Dubos, the very personification of south-west France, is a jovial chef with the sing-song accent of his region. Dubos does not just follow orders; he produces vivacious dishes that are a hymn to the Gascony of his youth. His nugget of wild salmon from the Adour River cured in alder wood smoke by the Barthouille family at Peyrehorade is served with a simple Granny Smith apple remoulade flavoured with horseradish (19 €). Another must from the à la carte menu is an exceptional carpaccio which has become a classic in a few short years: generous slices of raw filet of sirloin steak from ‘blond d’Aquitaine’ beef served with parmesan, olive oil, artichoke and a crisp salad (23 €). Other dishes also make Pinxo a most recommendable establishment, such as the baby squid stuffed with pigs’ trotters and served with a porcini mushroom and coco bean fricassee (22 €).
Alain Dutournier’s presence is obvious in his wine list, which he has carefully constructed with an eye to affordability. Whether you opt for a glass of rosé from the Béarn at 6 € or a bottle of Madiran Château Barréjat ‘vieux ceps’ (old vines) at 40 €, Pinxo is also a place where you can relax and enjoy some fine wine in a good Parisian restaurant without spending an absolute fortune.
9, Rue d’Alger
Tel: (33) 01 40 20 72 00