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Dining out on a whole roast

Seven-hour lamb at J'Go, Paris

Seven-hour lamb at J'Go, Paris

I’ve just gotten back from Paris, where I gathered with my huge brood of siblings to celebrate a sister’s big birthday. For the most part we didn’t go too crazy with our dining choices, gathering at brasseries, wine bars and easygoing restaurants.

One place we tried, on the recommendation of Clotilde Dusoulier, who writes the Chocolate and Zucchini blog, was a really fun spot called J’Go. The name is a bit of a play on words, as it sounds like “gigot,” or leg of lamb in French. It  specializes in cuisine from Toulouse and the Southwestern region of Gascony. You sit at long wooden tables, drink great Gascon wines and — if you’re in a large group — order from a menu that sets you to large joints of spit-roasted pork and lamb. There are also whole ducks and chickens, as well as Southwestern specialties like cassoulet.

As it is hard for groups of more than one Kessler to agree on anything, I couldn’t get much traction going for a whole leg of lamb or lamb saddle to feed the table. But three of us did agree to go sharesies, and got this braised seven-hour lamb shoulder with fennel and cauliflower. It had a simple, likable flavor and invited much spooning of sauce and picking of bones. The serious heap of mashed potatoes served alongside kept encouraging us to spoon up just a bit more sauce and veg. I really, really want to go back and try something roasted here. (Here’s American in Paris David Lebovitz on J’Go.)

I wonder if a restaurant like this could ever work in the United States. I think American diners like to have more choice and more customization on the plate to go for a free-for-all. I remember Billy Allin served a lamb saddle for four at Cakes & Ale for a while, but it didn’t last long.

Would you go for a hunka-hunk of meat?

14 comments Add your comment

Pigcooker

April 17th, 2012
4:29 pm

The best and most consistent hunks of meat are cooked here at the house in various ways. Plus, having a farm connection with variety of animals to choose from helps too. Unfortunately, living in ObamaVille makes it hard to eat out when half of the team is unemployed and the other half is underemployed.

Art

April 17th, 2012
6:10 pm

First off, celebrating birthdays in Paris?? I want to be related to you. As for the hunk of meat? You bet! And even better with lots of great wine! Happy belated Birthday wishes to your sister!

Affirmative

April 18th, 2012
7:58 am

Damn straight, I definitely think there’s a market for something like that. We didn’t climb to the top of the food chain to eat a meal of hummus

Baltisraul

April 18th, 2012
8:53 am

For those of us that can’t go to Paris for a celebration, we have the Dillard House in Dillard, Ga. Maybe not as good but it ain’t bad for us Southern folks. Plus you can spend a day in the mountains!!!! And you probably save $150.00 or so over a trip to France! (gas prices included)

Edward

April 18th, 2012
10:55 am

Inappropriate political slurs notwithstanding, I would certainly enjoy something like this at a local place. The closest we get here is perhaps the slowly braised shortrib that I’m always drawn to when I see it on the menu.

Billie

April 18th, 2012
2:00 pm

Closest thing we have is the churrascarrias such as Fogo de Chao, offset by gargantuan salad bars. . . Btw, if your birthday is July 14 (as mine is) and you’re in Paris, whow! It’s a birthday to end all birthdays! I remember being served Roederer Cristal (and not much after that!!!!) at the Ritz in Place des Vosges. . . .

Baltisraul

April 18th, 2012
2:03 pm

Edward……….what inappropriate political slurs are you refering? I didn’t see any in the article or the above posts! Maybe you are afraid someone would say something about those “frogs” and their hatred of all things American?

Num Num

April 18th, 2012
5:07 pm

Dillard House…awesome

60's Relic

April 18th, 2012
6:28 pm

Yes. I miss the roast lamb and roast beef dinners my mother used to serve. And don’t forget the lamb gravy for the mashed potatoes, or Yorkshire pudding cooked in the same pan as the beef roast. It would be nice to go with a small group and recreate the past. I’m also wishing I could find some place that serves iron skillet cornbread with that nice, thick brown/black crust. Sweet seems to be in for cornbread now. I don’t think my mother used any sugar or sweetener.

Baltisraul

April 19th, 2012
7:18 am

60’s relic……..over the years I have found I like a sweet taste to my cornbread. I don’t know what that means other than my tastes have changed.

Edward

April 19th, 2012
12:57 pm

Balt: the first comment (pigcooker) regrettably attempted a political taunt that was totally unnecessary or welcome.

As to sugar in cornbread, I just say, “NO!”. Likewise the sugar on fried chicken, or in Chinese food. It’s just wrong, WRONG!

Kev

April 19th, 2012
2:34 pm

“Sweet seems to be in for cornbread now. I don’t think my mother used any sugar or sweetener.”

When I was growing up we used to call that “yankee cornbread”.

Baltisraul

April 19th, 2012
8:42 pm

pig cooker seems harmless enough. Don’t have any idea what that means. Sugar in fried chicken or Chinese is a no-no. I have become fond of a little sugar in my cornbread. My tastes are evolving with time! Edward, pls explain pig cooker!

Baltisraul

April 19th, 2012
8:43 pm

Kev….yankees can cook also!