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M'sieu Paul ...

Discussion in 'Restaurants, Dining, Dining Plans' started by Tink, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    Bocuse needs to pay attention to the restaurant that bears his name.

    As some of you know, our very favorite and most pleasing meal was the degustation menu tasting we did years ago in France at Le Bistro. We were hoping for something along that line, quality wise when we arrived for dinner last night.

    Our wait for a table was minimal, and we were seated at a lovely table for two near the window. We did have a nice view of the fireworks during Illuminations, but that was much later in the meal.

    We read the entire menu (and it's a short one, by the way) and made our selections. We both had the salmon appetizer, Herself had the truffle and oxtail soup, I had the lobster, and for the main course we both chose the rack of lamb. Herself had the orange soufflé for dessert and I had the napoleon.

    Prior to service of the meal, a very small puffed pastry type amuse bouche was served. It tasted very strongly of egg, and when another CM came along and gave them to us again, we didn't eat the second offering. The bread was the usual baguette. I didn't mind it, but Herself found it too hard and crunchy.

    Given the description of the salmon we were not surprised by its being raw on all but the very outside. It was a touch strong, but with the cucumber and other condiments on the dish I was able to mask the taste. Both of us agreed, we preferred the salmon tartar of previous years... and far prefer our smoked sockeye salmon that we brought back from Alaska. We'd not order this selection again.

    The course was cleared and after a few minutes the next course was brought out. Herself's soup was served in a pretty little white tureen with a puff pastry covering the bowl. My lobster was in a deep red sauce with finely chopped vegetables. Herself's soup was odd. Not bad, not good, just odd. The pastry was tough and when it fell into the soup became slimy. She did not finish. My lobster was tough and very chewy and the roux based sauce it was in was just there for effect apparently, as it had no real flavor. The dish was in desperate need of a little rice, or something along those lines. The entire thing reminded me of an étouffe gone wrong.

    Once that course was cleared we were on a long wait (very long wait) for the main course. It was not served for nearly 30 minutes. The server, a wonderful young man named Yann kept reassuring us it would be out soon. We felt that our suspicions that "something must be wrong in the kitchen" were being confirmed at this point. We chatted and sipped our wine (I had chosen the blanc de blanc and Herself was having a very nice Cotes du Rhone) and talked about visiting Ireland, Italy, France... and chatted some more and ... well, you get the idea.

    When the lamb was served, we were extremely disappointed and absolutely should have refused it, but it was going for nine and we just wanted the meal to end at this point. We'd both ordered medium and it was red, bleeding rare... nothing that either of us were going to eat. Not only was it extremely underdone, but it was cold. The fat on the lamb had congealed into that nasty white globby mess. Ick. The cassoulet of beans was another example of the kitchen not being under control. Either they are working with unschooled cooks or the chefs are too new to understand their food. The beans were horrible. Some were overcooked to mush, while others were crunchy undercooked. How they accomplished that is beyond me, but I'm guessing they tried combining two different cook pots to make service. It didn't work.

    Then, there was this "mess of a thing" on the plate with the lamb. It was a very tough puff pastry round layered with soft (cold) goat cheese that seemed to have been whipped. It was soft and sloppy. On top of that were a tangle of overcooked green beans (to the point of being discolored) and raw asparagus. Nothing pleasant about it at all.

    We asked for boxes for the lamb (and had him clear away the rest).

    We then waited again for dessert... it was served about 9:30. The table next to us still had not yet had their main course, but it came just before our dessert. Her duck was incredibly tough and stringy and his filet was still mooing. They both decided that since it was late and they were starved they would eat it, but had considered sending it back, too.

    Once the desserts came, nothing had improved. Herself's soufflé was flat out terrible. Undercooked, and stank of egg. It tasted exactly like a bowl of scrambled egg over which she poured the orange sauce and yep, you guessed it, scrambled eggs with orange sauce. Not nice at all. She did tell the server about that, and he was quite gracious stating he would let the kitchen know for "next time."

    The napoleon I had ordered was no better. The filling was thick and gluey with no flavor and the pastry was burnt.

    Needless to say, there is a serious need for a pastry chef there, and line cooks that know how to prepare the recipes.

    We spent (including wine, and tip) $300 on a meal that we didn't enjoy one bit. Now, we should have (yes,yes, yes) complained but we simply just did not want to. Sometimes you just want to go to dinner without any stress or discomfort and we chose not to say anything other than about the dessert.

    We'll not be returning, of course. We'll retain our memories of the lovely meal from years ago and head to Via Napoli for a meal next time.
     
  2. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    ouch :(

    absolutely agree!

    what a shame! thanks for the honest report Tink, really helps especially when deciding on $300 meals!!

    Will have to seriously consider our May reservation. I should say that the last time we went, before the name change, we found it barely passable so doesnt sound like it's changed much but we were prepared to give it another try.
     
  3. robertcraig
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    robertcraig Serious Forum Regular

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    think i will give it a miss this year
     
  4. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    Given the long wait in between courses we gawped around at other tables. There were no indications that others were "loving" their meals. Dessert in particular seemed to be problematic and left on the table by many, many diners including the unruly children a few tables over.

    It all sounds nice on the menu, but they can't deliver. I'd tell you that maybe it was truly an off night, but I don't know. It was so "off" they should have been doing something about it.

    We did see a manager type (with the ear piece) going to a few tables and looking rather solemn and grave...

    For $300, dine elsewhere.

    I know I must sound beyond fussy, but I refuse to be ashamed of that. We have a great love for good food and truly enjoy trying new places, new menus, new food items. We consider ourselves fairly well rounded (hey, watch it there! :D ) when it comes to being able to identify good food, and what needs to be done to correct a given dish. You could call us "foodies" but we prefer to think of ourselves as two women who simply love good food AND can recognize when they get it or don't!

    Personal taste is always a huge factor, and we do keep that in mind, but tough is tough, burnt is burnt, raw middle of soufflé is raw, bleeding red meet is bleeding... and so on and so forth.
     
  5. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    Wow, what a difference a couple of weeks makes. Donna and I had impeccable service. The food was absolutely wonderful and the souffle for dessert was superb. Our entire meal took about 2.5 hours but I'm used to that in French Restaurants. One has to wonder what happened.
     
  6. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    We have no issue with long, leisurely meals. We fully expected to be there for all of two or more hours. The service was excellent. It was nothing to do with Yann. It was everything to do with the kitchen, and perhaps something to do with the manager(s) on last night. They had a hard time controlling the dining room, and clearly lost management of the kitchen.
     
  7. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    I always encourage folks to go to a given restaurant and make their own determinations, but Robert, this was an expensive "poor meal." So, I'd say to watch reviews and if they don't improve, skip it.
     
  8. Wendy
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    Wendy A hui hou kakou makuakane Staff Member Administrator

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    Oh dear, not a good night at all.

    I was thinking of trying it in September, but think I will give it a miss, it's a lot of money for a poor meal. Chris wouldn't have been even able to eat anything else seeing the lamb that raw. I know the type of service and food you expect and I can understand you being disappointed.
     
  9. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    I'd be willing to give it a try BUT looking at the menu, I can see where $300 for two with wine comes from and that's pushing it for an experiment.

    V&A is $135 per person and I know for sure that will be top notch (albeit, that's without a bottle of something bubbly :)
     
  10. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    We talk about V&A from time to time, but have just never been lured there. Weird, huh? I did see a short piece with Chef Scott and Emeril recently. They were talking about Scott's melon salad and how refreshing it is... The melon is from Oviedo.

    At any rate, perhaps one day.
     
  11. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    yeah I know over the years you've never really felt the urge to try V&A

    It's perhaps an odd fit for me. I'm very fussy and won't try much if I don't like the sound/look of it :lol:

    However, over the years V&A have really impressed me with their food, service and desire to impress their guests. Most of the people there seem genuinely proud to be working at V&A and it's almost a pride thing with them that you go away happy.

    Now, I consider you two to be foodies (whatever you say :lol: ) so I'm thinking you have a lot more experience than me of v&a STYLE places. Basically if there was v&a v a top end steakhouse, I'd probably choose the steakhouse to be sure there'd be something I'd like. So, although I've been to a lot of great places, they're usual steaky places.

    So back to V&A :lol: I don't eat vegetables but at V&A I've often had them and loved them because, I guess, great ingredients and prepared properly. I wouldn't normally try fish, but I've found out I like loads of fish dishes IF done properly.

    Now that doesn't really say much I know :lol: makes it sound like they're capable of taking a fussy steak and chips eater and perhaps raising his game a touch :lol: but vegetables aside, I do know good food when I eat it and v&a is beyond wonderful IMHO each and every time.

    The only issue I've ever had is with the service. In the early days they stuck SO much to the "I'm Victoria and this is Albert" game :( and I just felt for an upmarket location, they needed to knock it off :lol: even when asked, they would say "Victoria" sigh just too much

    Anyway that rubbish is long gone I'm happy to say
     
  12. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    Well, perhaps you'll convince me to try it for Herself's birthday.
     
  13. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Reading your report makes me so sad Tink, as the Bistro was one of those restaurants that we really enjoyed to visit for dinner. :sorry:

    I`ll certainly hold fire until I read some more positive reviews before I go there again.
    Thanks very much for the information, although I am very sorry that you had such a bad experience.
     
  14. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    We really liked the Bistro, too Terry. Will truly miss it now that the replacement isn't up to par. Maybe they'll improve over time.

    Perhaps we'll try "downstairs" again. We've not been there in quite some time. The last time we were there is was very nice (lunch) so no reason not to try it again.
     

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