Sunday, July 20, 2014

That French Restaurant

It wasn't my idea to visit this crazy French restaurant, but these things get arranged. Though I am a Francophile as far as its mythic resonance goes (or gestalt, if that term makes any more sense to you) I'm not a fan of French cuisine. But that's okay, because as it turned out, this place (that I will refrain from naming out of abject pity) wasn't even close to being an authentic French restaurant. Even though their sign out front says - wait, let me doublecheck, yes, that's right - "French restaurant." But half the menu was German food.

The soupe au fromage seemed little more than a handful of melted Swiss cheese in a colloidal suspension of some sort of hyper-salty MSG-laden gunk that tasted like Dollar Tree bouillon. In other words, it was bad French onion soup without the onions. There was only one steak on the menu, count it, one. A filet mignon, they called it, though it didn't resemble any I've ever eaten. I liked it. It was meat. Believe it or not, I really am easy to please. However, someone else sent their lamb rack back, said it tasted "uncooked and disgusting".

Every expensive wine we ordered from the wine list turned out to be not available. It got almost humorous, like, "well, do you have any good wines?" Finally we found one the waiter would admit to having in stock, but when he brought it, the foil was already suspiciously removed even though it was a full and allegedly unopened bottle. The cork came out effortlessly even though the server made an exaggerated show of acting like he was struggling to remove it. The wine was, shall we say, adequate but disappointing. I love you, Florida, but science has proven that only one in ten of your restaurants is worth a damn.

And after all of that, the bottle he brought wasn't even the bottle I ordered. When I called him out on this, he said defensively and mysteriously, "oh yes, we had to adjust that." I minded my manners since this was a business meeting, but had I been alone I would have asked him WTF that even means, and why he didn't bother to tell me he'd pulled a bait and switch before "opening" the bottle.

(Well, no, actually, if I'd been there alone I would have already walked out fifteen minutes earlier.)

Were there any positives? Hang on, I'm thinking, I'm thinking. The apple strudel was okay. The after-dinner coffee was very, very good. The decor (which looked like someone's grandma furnished it entirely from yard sales) and the music were so mind-blowingly bad it was actually entertaining. It was an interesting experience if for no other reason than the surrealism of it.

There was hardly anyone in the place but us, and I can see why. On evenings like this, it's enough to make a Kentucky boy homesick.... or want to start his own restaurant.

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