Looking for a well-prepared, unfussy meal last night, we decided to give this place a try. It's an attractive, small space, with a typical French bistro look.
While not particularly busy, all the other tables seemed to be regulars, which we took to be a good sign. We ordered a nicely priced bottle of '99 Chassagne Montrachet that was surprisingly good to go with our meal. The menu is not elaborate, and is mostly French bistro standards, like steak frites, escargots, frisee salad, sweetbreads, etc, with a short list of specials (one soup, one salad, two entrees).
I ordered escargots and the fish special, red mullet with a basil sauce. My boyfriend had the frisee salad and a duck breast & leg confit combo with black peppercorn sauce. The escargots were okay, but they had left them under the salamander too long and the tops had gotten to the far end of the crispy brown scale. The frisee salad was good, with a nice softly poached egg, flavorful lardons, and properly fried croutons. The dressing was a bit short on acid, and they had added mushrooms, which was just silly, but it was a respectable version of the dish.
Things did not progress so well from there. My rouget had an odd "shrimpy" flavor to it, and while my boyfriend seemed to think that they had used shrimp shells in the sauce, I am pretty sure it was the fish itself. His duck dish was not particularly successful either. The breast, medium-rare as requested, was wonderfully tender and moist (perhaps they had brined it before cooking), but the leg confit was dry and tasteless. Now, it's pretty difficult to dry out a piece of meat that in theory has been cooked in it's own fat, and to render it flavorless beyond that is bizarre. It's usually a foolproof item for a restaurant kitchen to execute (or a home cook). The sauce was cornstarch thickened and a little on the gloopy side. Sides were the same for both dishes, a lump of steamed spinach (good), a cauliflower floret (fine), a broiled tomato (good), and potato puree (rancid garlic flavor, yuk).
We decided to pass on dessert, ordering coffee and digestifs instead.
Perhaps we should have stuck to steak frites and a salad. Not sure if we would go back based on this experience. Anyone else been?
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