Visited 3 Petits Bouchons for the first time last night. Was instantly put off by the fact that we had to wait a few minutes at the door before even being acknowledged, and then told that there were no tables even though we had made a reservation. A 15 minute wait ensued--after 10 minutes we were offered something to drink but alas, we were too far away to make out any of the items and declined.
Finally our table was ready. We decided to start off with a serving of the calamari, which were quite tender and deliciously battered with a bit of a spicy kick. Served alongside was a spoonful of mayonnaise with a hint of heat and a helluva lot of garlic. Some might have been put off by it--and justifiably so--but I liked it. However, my wine had a hard time standing up to it, even though it was the recommendation of our nice waiter. We had ordered it from the by-the-glass menu--my choice was the Domaine Plageoles Mauzac 2006. It was a lively little white wine that tasted of meadow, lemon, and oddly enough, banana. But again, it had a hard time standing up. Worse was the white Muscadet that my partner ordered (sorry the label eludes us both.) Another recommendation, it tasted like water after those calamari. By now we knew not to trust his judgment in these matters.
For the main course, I ordered the Souris d'Agneau served with aligot, paired with a 2004 Chateauneuf du Pape (Domaine du Villeneuve). No complaints there--it was delicious wine and went very well with the lamb. My meal, however, was less thrilling. The dish certainly looked interesting--a huge hunk of lamb braised with a thick sweet barbeque-ish sauce on top of a thick chevre and cauliflower-infused aligot. However, the sweetness of the sauce and the goatiness of the aligot did not a delicious dish make. I found the flavours competed with each other in a mildly nauseating way and was simply unable to finish my dish. I think the meal would have been better had the chef decided against the sweet barbeque.
My partner opted for the sweetbreads and was quite happy with his choice. They were well prepared, crispy on the outside and quite spongy on the inside, surrounded by a beautiful ragout with beans, mushrooms and other seasonal veggies. He not only finished his dish but mopped up the sauce with bread, thereby totally cleaning his plate. I love to see that.
Once we had finished eating, we waited almost 30 minutes to have our plates removed, which was surprising because by this time, most of the patrons had left. The staff were busy resetting the tables around us, rather than cleaning ours, which I found to be quite annoying. Furthermore, our waiter was too engrossed in a conversation with patrons at another table to notice. Finally one of the people setting a table near us asked if we were done. We sure were.I had intended to order a cheese plate but after waiting for so long for attention I decided against it. Just as well.
I can't say I will go out of my way to go back. I'd much rather trek a little north and visit Bouchonne again, or go south and visit Aszu, my all time favorite.