Went to La Grenouille for lunch on Saturday after not having been there for many years. The room was as beautiful as ever, though only about half full. The service was lovely completely professional, but also friendly in a way that you might not expect from a formal French restaurant. Charles Masson stopped at every table to say hello, and seemed to know most of the diners. We were offered drinks before the menus, and each ordered Lillet Blanc I was slightly disappointed that they dont keep it chilled, so we had it on ice. We were asked if we wanted to see the menus, or wait to finish our drinks we opted to see the menu. There were a couple of specials, including a Daube. The regular prix fixe is $55 - there is also a "business lunch" for $43 and you can "mix and match". I ordered the leek tarte, Dover sole ($10.75 supplement), and the oeufs a la neige. My husband ordered the corn and chicken liver crepe, the oxtails and a chocolate soufflé ($8.75 supplement). He was asked if he wanted extra corn with the crepe and said no, but when it arrived, I can see why they ask, as the dish is tiny like two amuses. The wine list was not offered, and so after ordering our food and waiting a couple minutes, we asked for it. The captain suggested a Malbec, which we ordered, and I asked for a glass of white wine to be brought with my sole. The appetizers came out immediately, almost too quickly, and we waited a couple of minutes to start, until our wine arrived and was served. The leek tarte was light and flavorful my husband enjoyed the crepe, though as I mentioned, it was tiny. My sole was superb served with a mustard sauce and haricots verts and the requested glass of wine was brought just before the sole arrived. Oxtails also got a rave review. The desserts were also great my oeufs a la neige came with lovely crisp spun caramel. The chocolate soufflé was served with a side of whipped cream and also disappeared quickly. To end the meal, we had espresso and two plates of the petit fours fantastic light madeleines and some other treats (they quickly brought us the second plate after we made our way through the first, and offered us more, which we resisted).
So based on this description, we should have come away completely happy but somehow, it was a bit of a let down. The bill was as we expected about $340 ($80 bottle of wine, $24 for the Lillets) including captain and waiter tips (a little over 20% total). After talking about it, we decided a couple of factors led to this. One, we sat at a banquette next to each other, and decided in the future that wed rather sit across from each other but that is minor and we could have asked to move. Second, we expected the restaurant to be bustling, and it wasnt. By far the biggest factor was the menu we decided that we felt that there werent enough things to choose from that we wanted to eat - and not because of diet/allergy reasons etc. - we eat pretty much everything. In looking over the menu again on line, I cant put my finger on what I would want to see, but that was our issue.