As I approached I saw a huge crowd spilling out onto the sidewalk and remembered that I had no fall-back place to eat, darn. And in my eagerness I took no photo of the Carrefour or place, thus the pix above.
But intrepid as I am, I elbowed my way in. The entire Bayonne rugby team was celebrating; they were very drunk, very into jumping in unison on the fragile floor-boards, chanting/singing Basque fight songs, smoking and drinking much more.
(Ironically, on my way there, I was reading Matthew Quick's brilliant first novel "The Silver Linings Play Book" which features a lot of Philadelphia Eagles fans jumping/chanting/shouting/etc. Picador, London, 2008.)
My friends and I suspect soon to be enemies describe the place as a wonderful experience. I suspect my friends soon to be enemies have never encountered Brit soccer hooligans on the tube, deafening shouting from the row behind one at a Rangers hockey game or acid-heads jumping up and down in unison at a Shea Stadium rock concert and certainly not all three together.
How is one to judge food in a situation like that? Well, I'm a professional. So I shout at the top of my lungs to the guy 2 feet away behind the stove by the entry, chorizo! He says Huh, and points to the guy one over? Chorizo, I shout, chorizo, and point at the sign. He nods and turns to the thirds guy - Chorizo - Ah so. All three sequentially give me a shrug that sort of says "What are you gonna do?"
Eventually after all the shouting and dumbshow, I get a cutting board full of the greatest chorizo I've ever had.
In addition, the rolls are terrific (really great crust) and the capers and pickled cherries wonderful and the wine (at 2 E a pop) quite sufficient.
Then, despite several bruises growing on my back and ribs, I order an order of chipolatas, which are not the best I've ever had.
Then I notice the ruggers who were French/Spanish/Basque/whatever (they spoke, it seemed to me, three tongues) are gradually jumping/shouting/singing/chanting/drinking/smoking/shoving outside not inside and nice, well-dressed, calm, unburly, unelbowy, Parisian folk are replacing them.
The din diminishes. An elegant lady asks what I'm having; I explain. A guy with a suit and tie helpfully points her to the items over the counter. Ah, this is what my friends were describing.
I exit just as the place achieves equilibrium; quiet (oh, some Basque music, but OK), no elbowing and an ability to converse with both other customers and the three guys in back of the counter.
My bill = 12 E, a great meal, except Colette will never believe I got all these bruises in a tapas bar.
Go? You gotta.