Saturday, February 20, 2016

Le Bar à Boeuf

This needs polish 

Le Bar à Boeuf Lounge Area
     The first restaurant we reviewed on this blog was Jean Robert’s Table.  For the most part, his restaurants have been ones we’ve returned to on numerous occasions.  I’m not so sure we’ll have the same relationship with Le Bar à Boeuf.  It’s located in The Edgecliff in Eden Park, which has been the black hole destination for a number of reputable restaurateurs over the past few years.  It was a curse I hoped would be broken, but…

Dining Room
     I’d made the reservation online and indicated that it was a birthday.  When we arrived, there was no maûtre d’ around so the bartender kindly came over and seated us.  The maître d’ bopped by quickly to say hello and nothing else after conducting what seemed like a twenty minute conversation with the next table (obviously the couple were regulars) that was all about being a mutual admiration society.  After he departed, this couple argued for about thirty minutes before leaving.  She was a sophisticated suburban shrew; he was passive aggressive.  I couldn’t tell if this was a primary form of communication for them or if it was a mating dance.  Unfortunately, it was more intriguing than anything else during the evening.

Medium Rare Bison Burger and French Fries
     The focus is on the burger, which was fun about eight years ago, but has become a little ridiculous when top chefs and restaurateurs want to charge $15+ for a big piece of meat.  However, I really liked the burger at Salazar because it was closest to my Mom’s.  Boeuf offers various types of meat (no bun, which was fine since the portion is very large), but the waiter didn’t point out that bison is best when cooked medium, but no more because it isn’t a juicy meat.  Mine was good at medium rare, but Neil wasn’t as pleased with his medium well.  There are various accompaniments; the Béarnaise sauce was excellent and since it’s difficult to pull off at home, it’s a great choice.  I also liked the onion compote.  

Bison Burger with Béarnaise Sauce and Mashed Potatoes
Creamed Spinach
     The mashed potatoes and the French fries were good, but not as terrific as they were at Jean Ro’s Bistro a decade ago.  On the other hand, we liked the creamed spinach side.  It featured the vegetable in a light, thin cream sauce.  It was also big enough to share.  

     I wish servers weren’t so desperate to clear plates at the drop of a fork by a specific diner instead of waiting until all in the party have finished.  Neil had to stop his plate from being taken because he hadn’t quite finished eating.

     We had to ask for a dessert menu, but there’s a good selection.  I overheard our server say that the host is more concerned about a server’s personality, rather than her or his ability to set a table.  That’s fine, but the host still needed to instruct our  server how to set for dessert.  Neil chose the
Jean Robert's Classic Chocolate Pot de Crème
chocolate pot de crème, which has been a Jean Robert staple for a while and still wins.  I selected the pineapple and rum pudding, which I naively thought would be either a creamy pudding or a variation on a pineapple upside down cake.
Pineapple and Rum Pudding
It’s actually bread pudding.  It’s good, though I don’t love bread pudding, but nowhere near as good as a version we shared at Bravo last year.  

     I make this sound like it was a downer of an experience, but it wasn’t because the food is good and isn’t obscenely priced.  However, I expect more from Jean Robert and Le bar à Boeuf wasn’t so special that we’d think about returning anytime soon.

    And the birthday celebration I had requested?  It was never mentioned.
Le Bar a Boeuf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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