Gastronomically, you are in an area where goose and duck dominate, often cooked over wood smoke, where fresh river salmon and trout grace the tables of the open air café culture. Dishes from South West France that make use of ingredients which the region has in abundance, such as wild mushrooms, truffles, duck, foie gras, walnuts, chestnuts, hams, cheeses and wines and armagnac.

This is Pigalle, a French restaurant in the theatre district. I've been twice, and definitely enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. The description above, from Pigalle's website, may be a little over the top, but the food is definitely well considered and prepared. Perhaps it is victim of the culture/neighborhood to which the restaurant must cater being one block from dozens of theaters means the restaurant is inundated from six to eight each evening with a diverse-but-casual crowd who may not even know what they're walking in to when the step inside. Unfortunately, this leads the servers to focus more on getting the food out on time and less on other aspects of service. I can say though that V and I came in at practically the last minute before a show, and were able to enjoy soup and appetizers with time to spare to head over and find our seats at Grease.

I can't say that I've actually had much French food, besides my semester abroad in Belgium (and of course lots of French fries). Still, I was duly impressed with the food at Pigalle. The Pigalle Cassoulet, a white bean stew with confit of duck, pork, garlic sausage and smoked bacon, was rich and flavorful, and just made me happy. Appetizers including escargots, an "olive cake" with goat cheese fondue, and crab cakes with a pimento mayo are rich and unique, while not being too large as to spoil the diner. The French onion soup was classic: delicious, cheesy, salty. V had the black bean soup that was also very good (in fact it inspired me to make black bean soup of my own).

Overall Pigalle is a nice pre-theatre restaurant, and a great choice for reasonably priced (good) French cuisine. I liked it well enough that I went back, and I would again, too. There's one thing on the menu I really want to try too: absinthe!

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