Had the pleasure of a celebratory dinner hosted by my mom's beau in honor of her 75th. We headed north to Lavendou and met up with my aunt and uncle to make for a party of 6. I continue to marvel at how the northern expansion continues. I had heard of the restaurant but did not realize where they were located.
The place was packed… perhaps a little too packed. Our round table was in a corner created by a big book case, and maneuvering into my chair without sharing too much of my ample butt with the 2-top up against the wal next to usl was interesting.
Of course I had perused the menu online, but the standard menu was augmented with a sheet of daily specials which I gave careful consideration before proceeding as planned. They were very much in keeping with the classic French theme of the place. Between the 6 of us there were 2 NY strips, 2 trouts, a dover sole and my seafood St. Jacques. I started with the fried goat cheese salad that was lovely (the salty bits of pancetta were a nice touch vs. the tangy cheese), and I can say the same for my entrée and everyone else's. All the seafood was cooked perfectly, the steaks were cooked to order, and all the sauces were spot on.
The only negative, and it's considerable, was the service. If I had to come up with a single word to describe it, I'd go with "clunky". Instead of bringing out the first round of cocktails on a tray, the were delivered by hand in 3 trips, with gentlemen being served before all the ladies were served. Awkward. A plate holding a ramekin of butter and another with olive oil and a dollop of tapenade (way yummy) was delivered to the table. But it would be several minutes before we had the bread that was supposed to go along with it. As with the cocktails, the apps and mains came in shifts, with some men's dishes served before the ladies.
To top of the service issues, despite our host asking multiple times for the special birthday cake to be delivered to the table, it never happened, though they did manage to deliver dessert menus that weren't supposed to be delivered. The surprise was spoiled when they scooped up the dessert menus without taking any orders and set out plates in advance of the birthday cake being presented. Way awkward.
All the food was top notch… not a glitch from the kitchen. But the service mishaps, when taken in total, made for an experience that was not worth the drive. I have to think that if French is to be the fare, there must be better choices closer in town.
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