Centering an entire menu on offal was a gutsy move, quite literally, but the
gastronomic zeitgeist proved Nadège Varigny right. There is indeed an enthusiastic demand for underappreciated cuts of meat, especially when they're prepared with such a delicate hand as they are here: the pork skin terrine is silky on the tongue, fat capers shine over the pillow-like lamb's brains, and the emphatic veal kidney is tempered by a wholesome gratin dauphinois. The list of wonders doesn't stop here: Ribouldingue is also the proper
haven for fans of tripe, sweetbreads, head of veal, pork snout, beef tongue,
cow udder, and even veal testicles, modestly referred to as rognons blancs
(white kidneys) or animelles.
If you're not sure you
can stomach an all-innards meal, however, or
if your dining companions are more timid than
you are, fret not. There are other, less challenging
dishes to choose from: trout rillettes with cress,
monkfish blanquette, or seared mackerels with
Desserts are offal free -- to everyone's relief, I'm
sure -- and enchanting, such as a simple salad of gariguettes (a variety of
strawberry) served with crème fraîche or a remarkable cilantro mousse
with poached pineapple. The 27€ three-course
menu is an excellent deal in the evening; it's a pity
there is no smaller formule at lunchtime. The
wine menu features bottles from independent producers at gentle prices,
starting at 16€. Ask to be seated in the cozy anteroom; it is less noisy than
the main dining room.
(The name is a reference to Les Pieds Nickelés, a graphic novel from the
early twentieth century that recounts the adventures of three small-time
crooks named Croquignol, Filochard, and Ribouldingue; a few pages are
wallpapered on the bathroom door.)
10 rue Saint-Julien le–Pauvre, 5th. cross street: Rue de la Huchette.
m° Saint-Michel or Cluny-La Sorbonne. phone: 01 46 33 98 80. Tue–Sat
noon–2pm and 7pm–11pm.