Tuesday, July 17, 2012
C'est La Vie Bistro: A great restaurant transports you. Be it to the South of France, a Caribbean beach, or a Chinese province, a meal can be a passport to any place you like. A bad meal makes you want to be any place other than the restaurant which has trapped you. We were held hostage most recently at C'est La Vie Bistro on Magazine. There was a nicely composed green salad with a garlicky dressing and a smear of herbed goat cheese spread across a slice of baguette. Nicely composed, save for the grey supermarket tomato which appearing at the height of tomato season is inexcusable. There were nuggets of snails swimming in a butter broth. The menu made mention of garlic, but we only got a rumor of it. The French Onion soup's broth was thin and watery. Entrees were a complete disaster. The coq au vin (below) had a vaguely medicinal broth with the consistency of well-shod mud with a layer of oil on top; an homage to French Army's struggles perhaps. Steak frites is a bistro staple, which translates from Medieval French as meaning, "you can't screw this up if you try." Well, they tried and succeeded. A grey, flaccid steak underseasoned from either salt or a grill sat next to overly salted fries. The entire transaction was a battle between the boring and overly flamboyant. Service was indifferent, but I am not. The bill couldn't come fast enough. Bogey.
Canal Street Bistro: Chorizo is funny business. It is a delicious pork sausage which carries the majority of its heat through its chile infected fat. However, when you cook chorizo it releases more fat than the Biggest Loser. This caused the chorizo quesadilla to sit in a pool of orange grease becoming a limp mess. The well-seasoned carnitas were a marked improvement and the inky black beans were the perfect counterpoint to a dollop of pico de gallo. Although I don't have anything nice to say about the chile con carne torta, I'll talk about it regardless. The meat was chalky and dry, the bread stale, and the sandwich was more one-note than Jimmy Buffet's song catalog. All the food screamed out for a well-placed shot of acidity or salt or both. Par.