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REVIEW OF NEW French Riviera Restaurant, Puerto Vallarta Mexico

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elf.elf.baby Jan 10, 2011 07:40 PM

French Riviera Restaurant, Puerto Vallarta

The bread was good. Tips are not the customer’s option. At these prices, they should make an effort. Especially with dirt in the limonada.

This is a new restaurant on the ground floor of the secondary building of the Molina De Agua condos in downtown. It was supposed to be 6 stories as I recall, per the building permit, but they continued building to 11. The secondary building was supposed to be a hotel, but it became more condos, 4 or 5 stories, which eliminated the view of the main building condos on the town side. It is a beautiful building, but imho it is a disgrace and an eyesore to downtown PV.

This ‘bistro’ is open to its adjacent bakery/candy shop and the effect is a bit jarring. By the way, there is not a thing French about the food. Calling day-old onion sauce Béarnaise does not a French restaurant make.

I ordered limonada and my husband a glass of wine. My limonada had some dirt in the glass, so they replaced it. I guess they did. Who can tell? They apologized. In fact, the waiters were doing a lot of apologizing to a lot of tables, for various things.

I ordered Forest mushroom soup with fois gras at 95 pesos. There were two pieces of fois gras each 1/8 cubic inch. (I did the math.) My husband’s scallop tacos with fois gras on the side was 155 pesos, and his much larger portion convinced me that this was not goose, that is, actual fois gras. Neither the taste nor the calf liver shape was right. I do not believe it was duck either. I’m feeling a bit like Emily Litella – I didn’t know what the heck that stuff was.

We both ordered the large portion main dishes. I ordered beef tenderloin, rare, large portion, 295 pesos. The waiter assured me that the large and small were the same length and width (he gestured around 3"x3"), but the height was different – the large was 2” and the small, more like ¾”. So this seemed like a place you could get a piece of meat cooked rare. My husband ordered sea bass, large portion. 245 pesos. (The pricing difference between the various large and small portions was always 50%, eg. 195 small and 295 large.)

After our appetizers, a 2nd bread basket arrived, and more butter. A half hour passed. The restaurant had filled up and the staff was busy. Our dishes arrived. The sea bass was about half the size you normally get at most PV restaurants and was over-salted. My beef averaged ½ to ¾” thick, and larger in ‘footprint’ than the waiter had originally indicated. It was medium well done instead of rare. Some pink, but dry. There was brown sauce on it, and that onion stuff was in a sealed container. There were French fries. I pretty much destroyed the meat getting to the center which I hoped was rare. Then I gave up and tried to get the attention of our waiter, who hadn’t been around for 45 minutes. One of the bus people went to get another waiter, who looked at the meat and went away. Another 15 minutes passed. We requested the check from a bus person. Someone came over and asked if we wanted coffee. Another 10 minutes (I was getting really curious if they were bringing me another steak.) Finally, OUR waiter came over and apologized for the mistake. I suggested that they had given me the small portion since it was thin. No no, he said, that was the large portion, and he again demonstrated the relative thicknesses, but this time they were 1” and ½”. He handed us a (full price) check and skedaddled. It had 15% gratuity added on. We were staring at it and another waiter came over. I said I was surprised that, with all the problems we’d had, they were adding on service. I asked them to remove it. They refused. He said the owner required them to do it.

Additional notes:

The limonada (no alcohol in it) was 55 pesos. This is truly highway robbery.

They only serve bottled water. Even some of the regulars seemed surprised at this; the nicest places in the city all have agua purificada (not ‘tap’) available.

I reported back to the concierge at our resort, and I sure hope the word gets around that this place needs to reassess its priorities. We are not talking about a very good or excellent, if expensive, meal. We are talking about overpricing, basic cooking skill, basic cleanliness (not just the limonada- you should have seen the bathroom floor!) and poor customer service.