Le Charm revisited
- Mike Lee Jul 21, 2001 04:12 AM
Ok, this is my second visit to le charm, the "affordable" french bistro, and i am not very impressed. For many people, this is the best place to get their food for very reasonable prices. I must agree, the 25 dollar prixe fixe menu seriously is a pretty sweet deal. I went to this restaurant for the first time and remember it was decent but this visit was not as memorable. During this visit, i ordered the fricasse escargot. This was actually not bad. The escargot was made to a good tenderness. As for my friend, she ordered the goat cheese with roasted pepper salad. I had a taste and was not impressed. For the main course, i had the creamy chicken and my friend had the braised duck. Both of which were a disappointment. My chicken was oversalted and overcooked. The sauce made it even saltier than usual. The only part of the dish that was actually enjoyable was the mashed potatoes. As for the duck, it was also overcooked but this time it was lacking in the taste department. With those disappointments in line, i was left with the thought of looking forward to the dessert. My friend had the creme brulee which i enjoyed on my last visit and i had the tarte tatin. The creme brulee remained a strong dish (although this time around it was a lot sweeter than my last visit). As for the tarte tatin, it could have been a strong dessert but failed. The caramel was really good which was more than i could have said about the overall dish. The crust was nicely done as well but the main problem i had with it was that some slices of apples were badly burned.
Overall, i did not enjoy Le charm as much as my first visit. Although people have told me this place was fairly consistent, i would tend to disagree. I might decide to go back when a friend would prove me wrong but for now, i think i will head back to south park cafe if i was to have cheap french eat. South park might not be as cheap as le charm, but for roughly 10 dollars more a person, i think south park proves to be more consistent.
Ok, hears my opinion of south park cafe, last time i was there was probably 4-5 months ago and i had a really good appetizer. This appetizer is not on the menu and is a special of the day. The appetizer consisted of salmon and a their salad (which i think their salad is better than le charms). There is also another salmon salad that appears as their appetizer consistently through the many times i went which was also good but not memorable. The last time i went there i had the braised duck and my friend had the rabbit leg. The rabbit leg was a little overcooked other than that the dish was really good. The braised duck was nicely done. But my most memorable dishes came on my second visit to south park where i had the Filet Mignon with mashed potatoes and carrots and my friend had the rack of lamb. Both dishes were excellent and probably the best main course they have to offer. Their filet mignon was cooked to perfection (soft yet tender and juicy) and the rack of lamb was baked with the utmost care. I remember the filet mignon costing around 23 dollars which was the most i have ever seen their main course being charged but was definitely worth the money. On the side note, i have never seen the filet mignon nor the rack of lamb on their menu again which was a big disappointment but their changing menu offered me a taste of many different style of food which was always a plus and their food would not be bad (at the very least it was average). As for their dessert, i don't recall anything really outstanding but i don't remember being really disappointed by it either.
As for comparison issues, since it is an affordable french restaurant i would probably compare it to Le charm and Clementine. As the comparison goes, i think their main course (especially their filet mignon) can be more memorable than le charm and clementine (although i did like clementines honey baked quail) and proven to be a little more consistent than le charm after my last visit. Maybe i will find time to go to clementine for a second visit and report on their consistency issue.
I agree with Mike, yet I'm willing to go back for the dishes that do shine. At my last dinner, the potato cheese appetizer was dull and the duck with wild mushroom sauce (special for the night) was brilliant - the best duck I've ever had. The creme brulee had a high proportion of brulee to creme - and the result too candy like. Are there any dishes that are consistently on the menu and consistenly outstanding?
re: elise h
Hmm the only thing that seems to come up in my mind is the escargot but not really outstanding... their onion soup which i had the first time was really good as well but don't know of its consistency... But other than that i think their menu is always changing, especially the main courses.