Circumstances have dictated that I pitch my tent in the Central Business District of late and yesterday offered a lunch opportunity at Bon Ton for the first time since the Fall of Rome. Nice, cold day....stood at the inner door and got crisp blasts of air for about ten minutes before the maitre d'hotel bothered to drop by. Was pleased to note that a regular customer, who came in after I did, was given a table while I still stood there. This is legal---he spends more $$ there than I do. After awhile I was given one of the five open deuces. (Maybe some were reserved for late lunch?)
Lunch was simple: artichoke salad and a bowl of turtle soup. Salad was inoffensive--creamy style dressing, hopped up on mustard and the finest, fresh canned artichoke hearts available (OK, it IS January but I'd leif as guess there is no change in May). Long on "presentation" as though appearance can overcome innate flaws of a dish.
The turtle soup was the surprise. There has been a tendency of late to make this soup very thick and Bon Ton is true to this approach. Slightly pasty--roux was "off"--and strong on the tomato. The meat was not fully whacked up (I've had this probelm myself when making it. Gotta be diligent with that food processor!) but it was still OK. It was not at all a bad soup but it suffered from two problems. (1) Someone put the immersion blender to it wile the bay leaves were still floating--well, lounging--around. Result was stems and little pieces of leaf that got in the way. (2) It must have been made on Monday or Tuesday and reduced over and over---the first taste was fine, the second was OK and the third (et seq) were increasingly laden with the taste of salt. Got to the point where I left a half dozen spoonfuls in the bowl. Slugged down a whole glass of iced tea before departure and had some ice water at the ofice ten minutes later.
None of the foregoing is fatal. Still like the place. Will conduct more reconnaisance in coming days. If you see a man, standing alone reading a newspaper, waiting for one of the several open tables, it's me.