Five of us met yesterday at Maison d'Azur for our end of year lunch and we had a wonderful time. Two of us had been at other lunches together, and there were three new faces.
I actually have eaten lunch at Maison d'Azur once before. My colleague and I shared the Dover Sole with Champagne Sauce ($72) and an Arugula Salad. Dover sole is a delicious fish. If you've never had it, you really must try it sometime. But their Dover sole has some sort of heavily salt-based dry rub on it which totally overpowers the fish’s delicate flavor. You can choose a sauce to go with it and we chose a Champagne sauce. It was watery and practically tasteless.
Yesterday, I ordered the Classic Mediterranean Fish Soup with Grated Cheese & Saffron Aïoli
($11) and the Pressed Duck Confit Sandwich with Frisée Lettuce and Pommery Vinaigrette ($14).
The fish soup, while redolent of a rich fish stock base was heavily salted. The bits of seafood in the soup were dry and overcooked. The saffron Aïoli again was so salty that the flavor of saffron was imperceptible. I hate to be a total grouch but I believe that the grated cheese had been pressed into a little ramekin and forced to live in the refrigerator overnight. When it came to the table, it was like a clump of little shavings soldered together.
The bread is excellent and is brought to the table with small dishes of rosemary butter and tapenade. Both times that I have been to this restaurant I could tell that the rosemary butter had come straight from the subzero refrigerator to my table. It too was hard as a rock.
The Duck Confit Sandwich is a puny little thing. Two grilled pieces of bread (rye?) imprisoning a few scrapings of smeared duck confit and a few droopy leaves of frisée lettuce. It comes with fries which everyone agreed were very good and a fatigued green salad, also heavily salted.
Have I neglected to mention that the food in this restaurant is consistently heavily salted? It's really shameful.
On a more positive note, the Goddess Parkina was with me yesterday and found me parking spot right in front of the restaurant.
My lunch mates will be filing their reports shortly.
Happy New Year to all.