La Salamandre is an old-style French restaurant in Azay-le-Rideau. Authentic or not, it presents itself as such. On the menu, you'll find a lot of French country-cooking classics. Would you be tempted to have lunch or dinner there?
- Tête de veau is just what it says it is: the meat off the head of a calf, served with sauce gribiche or sauce ravigote. Both sauces are variants of vinaigrette dressing fancied up with chopped hard-boiled eggs, herbs, and other aromatic ingredients.
- Civet de sanglier au chinon is a stew made with the marinated meat of a wild boar cooked in red Chinon wine with carrots, onions, and other aromatic vegetables and herbs. Chinon is a nearby town that's famous for its Cabernet Franc reds.
- Sole meunière is what we call a Dover sole in English cooked the way the miller's wife would cook it. In other words, the fish is sprinkled with a little bit of flour and then panned in melted butter. The menu specifies that it is fresh sole, which I assume means it's not frozen and thawed.
- Blanquette de veau is veal cooked in white wine and then served in a flour-thickened white cream sauce with mushrooms and onions over boiled white rice.
- Tripes à la mode de Caen is beef tripe (stomach) cooked in hard apple cider with carrots, onions, leeks, garlic, and... the foot of a cow or a calf for the silky gelatin it releases into the sauce. Caen is a city in Normandy.
For the faint of heart or anybody on a diet, the daily special is roast chicken. For between 16 and 20 euros ($18 to $20 U.S.), you can have one of the main dishes with a first course, a dessert, or even both. The restaurant is called La Salamandre not because they serve dishes made with salamander meat but because the salamander was the symbol of the French Renaissance-era king François Ier, a beloved figure in France's Loire Valley.