Monday, August 22, 2011

Bien Sur, I Want to Go Back

Dis donc, is a quick service French restaurant an oxymoron?

It's a moot point because it's not American quick like McDonald's, but La Parisienne Bistro and Cafe is definitely French.

Looking around the downtown spot, my friend was convinced that it was part of a chain.

Tastefully decorated with dark wood and high ceilings, everything was in place down to the smallest details.

Little Eiffel Tower place card holders for order numbers. Large embossed white paper placemats, a charming addition to every table.

"This has got to be a chain," my friend insisted. He works in a restaurant, so he said it with assurance; everything was too perfectly done according to him.

We obligingly stepped out of line to order once we saw the menu and realized that this was going to take some time to decide between crepes, starters, salads, entrees and sandwiches.

My friend was disappointed to hear that breakfast service ended at 11, but happy to find a Croque Madame (pan-fried French country bread with pulled chicken and Gruyere) with a poached egg on top and house-made chips on the side.

I had the open-face avocado topped with a zesty shrimp salad on a bed of mesclun and grape tomatoes.

Mine came out first, with an apology to my friend. "Yours will be right up. The egg is just about finished poaching."

When his delectable-looking sandwich arrived, my friend starting grilling the poor man about the decor and whether this was a chain.

"No, we did it all ourselves," he explained sincerely. "We're French!"

That shut him up and we began eating our delicious dejeuner without another word about chain restaurants.

I had been offered bread to accompany my salad, but had opted for sharing my friend's chips instead, an excellent decision

Their thick crispiness was a nice contrast to the creaminess of the avocado and the shrimp.

Over on his plate, the combination of his thick grilled sandwich with an egg made for a filling dish that he generously shared with me.

I should have eaten more of it than I did because by the time he finished, he was too full for dessert.

This was a tragedy because La Parisienne boasted a case of delectable looking sweets and we'd already ogled everything from chocolate torts with caramel sauce to miniature eclairs to Napoleons.

And now he didn't want any of it. Unacceptable.

Zut alors, I need to pick a more appropriate lunching partner when next eating at La Parisienne.

Which will no doubt be soon and may even begin with dessert, just to be safe.

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