Restaurant review: Le Bouchon du Vaugueux


Food in France is wonderful and plentiful, but it is generally not cheap. Even lunch at a corner bistro will set you back maybe thirty or forty euro. We lunched one day at McDonald’s (well, you need to touch home base once in a while), and even that was nearly twenty euro for the two of us.

As a result, we ended up eating prepared sandwiches and pastries a lot. This was not a problem, really; these are very inexpensive, and easy to find, and really pretty good most of the time.

But Partner and I agreed that we needed a few really good meals, just to complete our France experience.

Before our departure, Partner did a lot of web-surfing, and found a small restaurant in Caen called Le Bouchon du Vaugueux. The pictures were charming, and the menu was tempting. Here’s the current prix-fixe menu (a few items have changed since our visit):


Persillé de jambon et palette de porc aux lentilles  ou
Velouté de potiron toast au fromage de chèvre  ou
Salade de joue de porc et saucisson de volaille, vinaigrette de châtaigne.

Carré de porc épais et moelleux , laqué à la moutarde douce et cornichons ou
Pavé de colin à la plancha beurre blanc poivre rose et ciboulette ou
Lapin braisé aux raisins et confit d’oignons.
Assiette de 3 fromages Normand ou
Crème chocolat-café et nage de poires à l’anis ou
Mousse ivoire aux litchis pulpe de framboises  ou
Pudding façon pain perdu au rhum.

(I do not translate, on purpose. I want you to get the full flavor of the place.)

Partner corresponded with the manager, Mme. Poussier, and she confirmed our reservation well before we left.

We ate there on the evening of Friday the fifth of October.

I will remember that meal for a long time.

Mme. Poussier welcomed us warmly. “I know, I know!” she said when we arrived. “From the Internet!”

We both started with the celery soup, garnished with sesame seeds and served with toasted bread and cheese. Does that sound too simple? It was very simple. It was also wonderful. (I know we should have had two different appetizers, but we’re stupid tourists, and we both thought that the soup sounded too good to pass up. It was.)

For a main course, Partner chose the “carre de porc epais et moelleux” (thick juicy pork steak), with sweet mustard and French-style pickles as a garnish.

I had the rabbit.

Yes, I know.

(My mother long ago told me that, when she was growing up, her mother would serve rabbit from time to time, and tell the kids it was chicken. Grandma’s father, who lived with them, would wait until Grandma’s back was turned and then make little hippety-hop motions with his hands. And the kids would refuse to eat it, and Grandma was invariably furious, and never did figure out how the kids knew.)

Rabbit, if you’ve never had it, is delicious. You can certainly make believe that it’s chicken, but it’s really like nothing else. The rabbit I ate at the Bouchon – served in a sauce flavored with onions and raisins – was heavenly.

Dessert? I went with the cheese plate. Partner had the grilled pineapple with chocolate sauce. Both of us were very happy.

When we arrived at seven-thirty, the place (which is not large) was almost empty. By eight-thirty, it was packed: a few tourists like us, and lots of very contented-looking locals.

The service was immaculate. Mme. Poussier had the dining room running like a Swiss watch: I saw her more than once give instructions to a waiter with a nod of her head or a glance.

And all of the above, with the addition of a few beers and mineral waters and two cups of coffee, ran to sixty-five euro, which is approximately twice the price of two burger-and-fries combos at a Paris bistro.

I am also pleased to tell you that Le Bouchon has earned a Bib Gourmand citation from the Michelin guide, which means they provide “excellence on a budget.”

I know, dear reader, you’re probably not planning a trip to Caen in the near future.

But if you are: please go to Le Bouchon du Vaugueux, and treat yourself to a wonderful meal.

And, when you’re there, please let Mme. Poussier know that we think of her daily.

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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