01 July, 2011

Eating out in Lyon

It is said that Lyon is the French capital for food and wine and one can not get a poor meal in this town.  To those of you that have heard my rant about choosing a restaurant and eating out now is the time to click to another page because you would have heard the end of this story not once but many times before.  But for those of you that are new to Harry’s helpful hints to eating out, settle down with a good wine and a few pieces to nibble on – supplied of course from your own cellar or larder and let me begin.
Being a scientific sort of chap I like to gather information, review, research and then make an informed choice on most things I invest money in.  Now try to do that in the area of choosing a restaurant is a challenge in itself.  You say read a review, yes I reply, great decide to go, phone to reserve a table…..sorry only in three weeks time.  Not the way when you are travelling.  Well look at the menu displayed outside.  If displayed outside deduct 5 points, if in English deduct a further 10 points.  If printed on glossy paper, minus 5 and if includes pictures a further 5 points.  Now on balance any loss of points would exclude a restaurant in France but having passed these test proceed to the next step.
If large with many people all looking relaxed, skip to next location – they are not locals.  I could continue as Denny would say ad norsiam but you must get the idea.
On this occasion I did my research and found in a well respected guide book that Lyon has a Rue du Beouf and on the corner of this rue and that of Place Neuve St Jean is a statue of a bull.  That must be a good indicator of the restaurant especially as the restaurant is called Le Comptoir du Boeuf right next door to a famous wine merchant Antic.  The menu was displayed but not obtrusively and there was no visible English.  We chose a good table and then decided on a E15 and E20 menu of the day from a menu given us which now containing English subtitles!  The piece de resistance for me was the thick cut beef steak with French fries.  I did choose to start with salmon soaked in dill and wine.  After tasting the pink blotting paper (for the younger readers substitute paper towel) I should have realised that something was amiss.  The steak arrived and as we do on these momentous occasions I duly recorded in digital format the meal to pass on to future traveller or to savour again and again as we discus the memorable meal while viewing our pictures.  The first cut into the juicy tenderloin was a give away.  I spilt the wine in the glass as a sawed my way through a small piece with the steak knives provided.  I realized that even my preference for underdone meat would be challenged so I requested that chef at least light a match under this piece of meat.  It returned no better in taste, cooking or texture.  To such an extent that I chose to leave the better part of the meal on the plate.
Denny’s meal – neither of us could remember what it was suppose to be because it was just bland and the potatoes did nothing to improve the meal.
Being a reserved sort of guy I held back on the answer to “Did you enjoy your meal?” and put it down to poor research and laziness because after a few minutes after sitting down I wanted to leave but chose not too.  Next time as soon as you see an electronic order taking machine in the hands of a French waiter in an “authentic restaurant” leave immediately and seek out a menu written on a black board or better still eat at home with produce chosen from the local market.

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