28 rue du Mont-Thabor
Date of Last Visit: Thursday, June 4, 2009
The Victims: Too many to mention.
The Damage: Unknown! Our CFO paid.
The Background: I was excited, of course, to go to Paris for work. But the fact that Craig and his wife Leann would be there at the same time made me look forward to the trip even more. I know I can always count on them for organizing a great evening.
Craig told me about a little restaurant he had been to the night before and how much he and Leann had liked it. So based on his rave reviews, we booked a return trip–this time, for nine people.
The Entrance: We enter and are shown our own private dining room. How great is this? (The only bad part is that our private dining room is on the way to the toilets.) We make ourselves comfortable and proceed to rearrange all the tables.
Ummm…Only to find out that this is not our table. We don't have a private dining room. We've got a table upstairs in the corner. Whoops. Luckily not our fault.
The Ordering: I steer clear of my co-worker from yesterday's lunch at Georgette this time around. Luckily, there are no paper menus, just a large blackboard. There are also no little toothpicks around, so I can't poke anybody's eyes out.
I do agree to share the cuissot de chevreau roti with the same co-worker, however. (And although I don't know what cuissot means–my French colleagues tell me "shin"; Google Translate says "leg"–I do know that chevreau means goat.) I also take our server's suggestion of the prawn starter, which isn't even listed on the blackboard.
The Starters: We're brought a couple of boards of saucison. Great stuff. And then my prawns arrive, and I haven't stopped thinking about them since. They're served individually, each prawn in its own little pot of red wine, with a great buttery garlicky crouton on top. It was all I could do NOT to drink the remaining red wine in all the pots. Oh to be dining alone! (I did, however, help myself to some bread to sop it all up.)
The Mains: After a while, my colleagues insisted that I stop calling my main "baby goat." But the problem is, that's how my French colleagues first described to me. As I reviewed the menu, I said, "Well, that says goat" and they said, "Well, it more like baby goat. And what's that part of the leg? The lower part? Shin! Shin, yes. It's "baby goat shin." (Kinda like "baby fish mouth"? If you know what I'm talking about.) Well, the goat, baby or not, was delicious.
The Dessert: I'm not normally a huge crème brûlée fan, but again, I went with our server's recommendation. This was billed as a raspberry crème brûlée, which I figured was because of the raspberry sorbet on top. How wrong I was! This was full of plump raspberries. Fantastic.
The Verdict: This was a very happy meal. I left very happy. I would gladly go back here, and I would gladly recommend L'Ardoise to friends. And strangers.
P.S. Should I warn you that you're going to have to put up with a few non-London restaurant reviews in the coming days? Paris first, Madrid next! But I will try to mix up the reviews in between.