We went to Victoria's last night, based on recommendations we'd read here. It was a 1 1/2 hour drive each way, which is a long way to go for dinner, but we're chowhounds and the place is the middle of nowhere we'd ever be passing through for any other reason, so we thought we might as well go for a drive in the country.
It's a cute, rustic little place. The service was fast (we had to stop THREE different people from removing a dish of sauce before we were done dipping bread into it) and friendly and chatty (too chatty, of the "the chef tops fresh dough with sweet onions, then bakes it in a 500° oven for about 15-20 minutes" variety. The kitchen was v-e-r-y slow. The food was good. Not great at all, but good. The bill was astronomical for what we got.
We shared one appetizer, advertised as a pizza, the aforementioned 5" ball of dough topped with sweet onions and one poor zucchini flower, and nothing else, no sauce, no herbs, no nada, four bites apiece. I had two appetizers for dinner. The 6-7 mussels in a lavender-garlic cream sauce were nicely prepared, plump and tender, but if there was any lavender in there it was undetectable, and that had been the main draw for ordering them. The warm goat cheese salad with roasted beets consisted a small pile of whole leaves of a frisée-type lettuce that were impossible to eat without a knife, a few miniscule cubes of beet, and a nicely nut-crusted round of goat cheese. My husband had a piece of salmon in lemon butter that was no more interesting than it sounds, and mashed potatoes, which had to be ordered separately, since no starches or veggies come with any of the entrées.
The dinner was so light that we both had dessert, although usually we share one. The warm chocolate cake and hazelnut pie with bay leaf ice cream were both very good. Oh yeah, and one glass of wine. The tab was a whopping $83 with the tip!
Now remember, this is 35 miles from anywhere, in a roadside cafe. I have to admit that although we normally eat very well, we hardly ever spend $83 anywhere, anytime. Not in Paris, not in London, not in Seattle, not at home on Bainbridge Island. And if we do, we really expect the food to be great. Maybe we're just cheap? Maybe we're too picky? Or do the accolades for this place exist because there's fancy-sounding food so far out in the boonies? Or was it an off night? Did we miss the best dishes? Help me understand this, hounds.