I haven't seen any topics on Cafe Toulouse, located on Knox Street in uptown Dallas. I've been their twice now - once this spring, and once a couple of weekends ago. The food was superb on the first try, but very disappointing the second time.
Let me start off by saying that I love the Parisian cafe ambience. It is warm and inviting and relatively authentic, with a great patio.
But, what is going on in their kitchen?
I came on a Sunday night and ordered from the chalkboard on the recommendation of the server - a pork tenderloin with asparagus. The tenderloin came in 3 slices. Each was thin and tough, surrounded by a ring of flavorless fat and drizzled with bland gravy. The asparagus was skinny in diameter and chewy; another disappointment.
I ended up picking off my friend's plate - who had ordered the seared tuna. It was served on a tomato/veggie base. The tomato overpowered any of the subtle fish flavors you'd generally get from a rare-cooked tuna. Pretty boring stuff.
Halfway through the meal, someone from the kitchen (possibly the chef?) came to check on our meal. I didn't want to be too negative in front of my guests, so I said the food was "fine" in a lukewarm tone. If he had been listening at all, he could have pried to better understand by lack of enthusiasm. Instead, he answered confidently, "That's what we like to hear!" Thanks for the lip service, guy.
After he walked away, my guest (who was also picking up the tab) said, "Should I have told him the duck sucked?" Which made me cringe, since I suggested the restaurant.
Has anyone had similar or better/worse experiences at Toulouse? This place generated a fair amount of hype when it arrived on the scene a year ago... a creation of restaurateur Alberto Lombardi with direction from former Lola chef Scott Gottlich. I personally had high hopes for a comfortable neighborhood spot with fresh French-inspired food and mid-tier prices. But I fear something is amiss in the Toulouse kitchen these days.
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