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Anyone for a pint?

September 16th, 2009

What do you do after a long day at the museum?  My first impulse was to go to dinner.  The Girl and I walked to a nearby brasserie we had heard was pretty good.  A hand written sign explained that they were temporarily closed but would open again in about an hour.  With an hour to kill in Paris we did the only logical thing and went in search of a cafe.

The Girl was in need of some good old fashioned sugar and caffeine and ordered a $6 coke.  I wanted something new and tried to order a 1664, a popular beer brewed in France.  The waitress took one look at me and said no.  Evidently I would enjoy a Grimbergen more.  Since I was the dumb tourist and she was the local, I took her word and happily drank the beer.  It was yeasty and good.  As I recall, it tasted like a darker Blue Moon.  A Midnight-Blue Moon, if you will.  Later in the week I was able to successfully order the 1664.  It tasted like a watered down Bud-Light.  The waitress was right. 

After the pint – or half liter, they have the metric system over there – we made our way back to the brasserie.  This time we had a little more success, but just a little.  We made it into the dining room before being told that there was something unexpectedly wrong and that they would not be open that evening.  But in French.  I replied by asking for a table for two politely smiling and holding up two fingers to demonstrate.  After a quick back and forth I began  to realize that I was probably not going to be eating there that night.

We continued down the street  to our second choice, an upscale looking bistro.  Upon entering I felt under-dressed in my T-shirt and jeans.  Regardless, we were politely received and asked if we were reservations.  Not having any, I was worried that we wouldn’t be seated.  Then I noticed that there was only one other party in the dining room and realized that it probably wouldn’t be an issue.  Throughout the evening there were only a total of 3 parties at any one time. 

Whenever The Girl orders food she politely inquires, “Can I have…” Each time I picture the waiter saying no, so I was shocked when he actually did this time.  It turns out that they were out of the mushrooms required for that app.  She settled for a plate of sautéed chanterelles which were a special to start and mushroom risotto for her entree.  I went with a half-dozen order of escargot and a sirloin pepper steak. 

The chanterelles were good, but it was just too much mushroom.  My guess is that the chef really needed to get some old mushrooms out of his kitchen.  I think the dish would have worked much better as a side.  The mushroom risotto was good, but after the mushroom overload in the app it was a bi much.

Served in their own shell and not a ceramic prosthetic, the escargot were drowning in butter, garlic, and parsley.  I had some trouble with with the escargot tongs at first.  The shell kept slipping out whenever I tried picking them up.  At one point i had spilled so much of the butter that I was worried the shell would shoot out and hit The Girl in the face.  She suggested I admit defeat and just use my fingers.  If they weren’t so darn hot, I may have considered it.  When I managed to actually get one in my mouth it was delicious, buttery and tender, not rubbery at all.  Once I got the hang of it, I was able to finish my plate without incident. 

This will sound silly, but I was surprised just how peppery the pepper sauce on my steak was.  The sirloin was cooked just right and was very satisfying after the long day.  The side of fries were crispy and accompanied it well.

Overall, Le Grand Colbert was enjoyable.  The wait staff was friendly and attentive, the food well prepared.  This was an evening of being happy with the second choice.

Author: Josh Categories: Story Tags: , , ,
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