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Bistro de la Gare - is the bloom off? (long)

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Bistro de la Gare - is the bloom off? (long)

Will Owen | Mar 12, 2006 04:50 PM

After the deliriously good experience here a couple of months ago, last night's excursion was a bit of a bringdown. First of all, the reservations list back by the phone seems not to have made it to the front desk, and so when six of us showed up exactly on time at 6:30 we were very much unexpected, though they covered it with good grace by finding room to put two tables together. Unfortunately, they were both round ones, which occupied the floor space very weirdly and made the dining experience a trifle incoherent.

Wine and bread appeared fairly quickly; Pops ordered a Cotes du Rhone, not my choice but then I wasn't paying. The bread was simply boring: brittle messy crust over completely insubstantial crumb - notably inferior to the stuff we got at Wild Hare last week. There were some rolls included that at least had some flavor, though, and the butter was good unsalted.

I was in the mood for another tasty entrecote steak-frites like I'd had before, and Tania wanted more of that luscious fish, the St.-Pierre. Pops and Maman had tasted that last visit and wanted some too, as did Uncle's dinner date, and Uncle got the ahi tuna special. After a longish but not unreasonable wait (they were very busy) the food appeared, and the air of mediocrity got a little bit thicker: my steak was about two-thirds the size of the previous one, for which they'd compensated by cooking it a third longer. The fries, OTOH, were fairly close to rare. Tania's fish had similarly been cooked to perfection, sadly a few minutes before they actually took it off the fire. I don't know how the other diners' meals were - I heard no complaints, but then we weren't saying anything out loud either. At the end, we once again got the cheese plate, which did have the little pile of baby greens with the excellent vinaigrette in the middle, but the cheese portions were both tiny and too cold, and we had to ask for bread, our bread plates back PLEASE and some knives...

Since I wasn't paying and didn't see the wine list, I can only estimate the damage at around $200 with tip for the six of us. Granted, it was a much busier night than our first visit, and I didn't see the owner there, but Ms. T and I agree that it seems like they opened big to impress everyone and then sorta backed off...too bad.

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