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Figaro: Am I missing something, am I an uncultured Philistine, or what?

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Spouse got off work late, but was due a b'day dinner. We'd not been to Figaro on Vermont except for pastry and coffee, and that was years ago, in their pre-organic days. Impatient Chow-pup accompanied us.

Two (smallish and apparently not particularly interesting) dishes of vegetarian cous cous, one chicken breast with black truffes, one glass of juice (no booze) and close to $90 later, and I'm wondering what the attraction is. The space is not particularly comfortable, and they had us three seated at a two-top, although there was almost nobody else in the room. The service was indifferent, again in a nearly vacant room. The food, while not awful, certainly wasn't stellar (and I ate dinner at Cafe Pasqual in Santa Fe on Saturday, which is almost "as organic", is LESS expensive, and the food is WAY more impressive, so I may have been looking with a jaded eye).

What am I missing? How is this place still in business?

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  1. I also hadn't been for a long time, but went recently to have a quick espresso and croissant and catch up with a friend after a reading. We got caught up in chatting and finally realized that 20 minutes later, our espresso still hadn't arrived, and the server seemed utterly unrepentent when we reminded her. We were sitting approximately three feet from the espresso machine. If that's the attitude for getting an espresso, I can't really imagine eating a whole dinner there!

    1. I have no idea why they're still in business. Perhaps people think the rude/indifferent/incompetent service is authentically French? But...the French are at least known for good food, and you won't find it there. I will never go back....

      1. The place has the same ownership as Le Pain Quotidien and this is their only restaurant per se. Thus, the company focus is trying to keep the LPQs going, and this is the step-child that seldom gets much attention.
        Personally, I don't even feel they are doing much of a job of keeping the LPQs going, so no surprise regarding your thoughts on Figaro.

        1. It's a sad sign of Francophilia run amok that you assume that being underwhelmed by "French" fare means you're a philistine! No, the food just sucks. It's never been terribly good, although there was a phase years ago when they had very nice pastries.

          1. I too have never figured out how this place has stayed in business so long, especially when a cappucino and a mediocre pain au chocolat sets you back a ten spot.