Restaurants & Bars 2

Vonnas, France -- Georges Blanc

Helen Rennie | Oct 23, 200204:48 PM

Georges Blanc
Menu 95 euros / 99 euros / 115 euros / and up
This 3 star Michelin restaurant got such high accolades that we decided to make this our splurge dinner. The small village of Vonnas is a Georges Blanc Disney land where you can get anything from tea cups to underwear with Georges Blanc's signature. Since Georges Blanc is the spokes man for Poulet de Bresse - the only appellation contrôlée for chickens - we had to try his Poulet de Bresse with cream and foie gras. It was indeed the best chicken I have ever had. The sauce was simple, but oh so very velvety and decadent and the chicken just melted in the mouth.

Unfortunately, Jason and I did not enjoy our dinning experience in George Blanc as much as we hoped based on the stories and legends about this restaurant. It could be due to our preferences in food, service and décor. We are not big fans of what people describe as "luxurious" dinning experience. We want luxurious food, but prefer cozy atmosphere to grandeur, and friendly but relaxed service. We said "bonsoir" to at least 10 lined up staff members as we walked in. Jason learned this phrase really well by the time we made it to our table. We had about 10 people serving us, which made the service attentive, almost too attentive, but not personal in any way. The room was beautifully decorated, but a bit too grand and bright for our taste. The rushing waiters who carried course after course created a feel of hustle and bustle.

I got the menu for 95 euros and Jason got the one for 115. Our meal started with an amuse-bouche consisting of 3 little dishes: a little battered and fried frog leg, a snail in herb sauce and smoked salmon with lemon on toast. The salmon was very pleasant and refreshing. The other dishes were good but a bit on the heavy and salty side. For appetizer Jason got a very generous portion of lobster with balsamic vinegar sauce and mushrooms. It was an interesting and delicious combination of flavors, but not my favorite way to eat a lobster. Somehow a simple lobster bisque or lobster roll suite my taste better. I got the terrine of foie gras and rabbit with zucchini caviar. It was a very smooth and tasty foie gras, but without any surprises. We got so addicted to foie gras on this trip that we tried 7 foie gras dishes in the 2 weeks we were in France (good thing we don't go to France too often, or we'd have a heart attack pretty soon). Foie gras at Georges Blanc was good, but not memorable and blissful like foie gras with cassis, or onion jam that we had in other restaurants. I am not a health nut (especially when I go out), but if I am eating a dish that is death on a stick, it should make me moan with pleasure or it's not worth it. For the main course, Jason got the famous Poulet de Bresse. Yes, it was death on a stick, and yes, it made me moan. If there were not all these people around, I would lick the plate, so no complaints there. I got a fish fillet with basil sauce and 3 types of tomato (fresh, pureed and caramelized). The fish was tender and flaky and went really well with tomatoes and basil. Caramelized tomatoes were especially delicious. I think this was a great dish to show off the personality of tomatoes, but not really to show the personality of the fish. It was very tasty, but I had better fish dishes. After the main course, the waiter brought over a cheese cart with an incredible selection of cheese and walnut bread.

Just when we thought we were as full as can be, the desserts came. Not one, but 5 of them. Jason chose the chocolate cake and I chose rhubarb compote as our main desserts, but we also got a wonderful little tiramisu, little lemon sorbet, and a little tuile basket with raspberries and cream. We also got a tray of candies. The sad thing is that we were too full by this time to really enjoy our desserts. I would prefer all this generosity in the beginning of the meal when we were hungry. This meal definitely had its great dishes, but the dinning experience as a whole was not balanced or comfortable.

Link: http://home.mindspring.com/~yrennie/r...

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