Simanaitis Says

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A COUPLE MONTHS AFTER inaugurating SimanaitisSays, I wrote about La Pyramide, the restaurant established by Fernand Point, who mentored many chefs renowned for Nouvelle Cuisine. About 20 miles south of Lyon in Vienne, France, La Pyramide was a perfect stopover on the drive from Paris to the Riviera. 

Recently in perusing my cookbook shelves, I encountered a book that corrected an oversight in that October 2012 website item. 

Dédicaces Gourmandes, Pascal Meilheurat producer, Alain Vavro artistic director, Etienne Heimermann photography, Michael Buller translator, Rhône-Alpes, 1996.

Back in 2012, I recalled, “My last visit to La Pyramide was in the spring of 1992. I stayed at the hotel and enjoyed a dinner and breakfast. The beauty of both was in La Pyramide’s gentle art of dining.” 

Details true enough, but as the following inscription shows, I was blessed with more than a single Paris-to-Riviera drive and at least one more visit to La Pyramide, this one in June of 1998. 

Inscription in my book.

Dédicaces Gourmandes,” the book is described, “is not a display of culinary trends but a gourmande’s parade among some good tables. It is not country or bourgeois cooking, nouvelle or grande cuisine; it is “bonnes cuisines.” Here are selected tidbits.

Restaurant Alain Chapel, Mionnay. The village of Mionnay is about 12 miles north of Lyon just off the A6, a main Paris-Riviera autoroute. I stayed there on one of my stints and enjoyed the accommodations and Grande Cuisine of Alain Chapel, one of the students of F. Point. 

Alas, it appears that the restaurant closed in 2012, though its chef Philippe Jousse has an entry in Dédicaces Gourmandes. Describing Jousse’s dedication, the book observes, “Born out of expectation, meat and poultry, fish and shellfish take on an infinite simplicity.”

Lasagnes of Spider Crab & Dungeness Crab. Not exactly what I’d call “infinite simplicity,” his crab lasagna sure looks appealing. 

Crab Lasagna. This and following images from Dédicaces Gourmades. 

La Pyramide Fernand Point, Vienne. Here’s a menu of specialities from my 1998 visit, with choices of Chef Patrick Henriroux.

Amuses Bouche are, of course, appetizers with the literal name “mouth amusements.” The salmon was half-smoked on maple wood, served on buckwheat blinis. The langoustine aka prawn was accompanied by veggies and mushrooms. The crispy-skin sea bream resided in risotto with greens. The beef was pan-fried with foie gras.

Patrick Henriroux’s Stuffed Cabbage with Oxtail and Truffle Juice. The book observes, “It takes a certain audacity mixed with bravado to bring a young chef like Patrick Henriroux to invest in the most delicate of enterprises: rebuilding the monumental restaurant of the late Fernand Point in Vienne.”

Stuffed Cabbage with Oxtail and Truffle Juice.

Rather more complex than anything I might attempt, his recipe includes the tempting concept of mashed-tomato-stuffed Brussel sprouts. I have both in the fridge right now. Hmm…. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2023


  1. Michael Rubin
    May 11, 2023

    And the wines served with those lovely menus, Dennis?

    • simanaitissays
      May 12, 2023

      I’m sure I would have followed the waiter’s suggestion for un plonk or l’autre.

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