On the outskirts of Sens, in the industrial zone between Sens and St. Clements, they have assembled practically overnight, several prefab buildings to house “casual dining” restaurants. I don’t know but maybe the equivalent in the U.S. would be Sizzler, Dennys, International House of Pancakes?
Well, as there is not much drama in our town, the appearance of these restaurants has caused talk, both enthusiastic and denigrating. We had to make a run to Bricoman for shelves and slate tiles today, so Jade and I decided to stop into one of these new restaurants, La Pataterie, for lunch. That way, when next the conversation rolled around to these restaurants, I could give an informed opinion.
As the name implies, the theme of this restaurant is potatoes, particularly stuffed potatoes. Jade ordered the seafood stuffed potato.
This food did not look good and I was facing the window, with daylight forever! This was ugly food and you just knew that there was no real cooking going on in the kitchen area. The sauces were probably frozen in individual serving sizes, then microwaved along with the potato as they received the orders. The sauces reminded me of the ones in budget frozen TV dinners, 3 for a dollar, that helped you make it through lean times in college. We’re not talking Picard here, Roger, more like Banquet brand from a Safeway, located in the ghetto. I quickly drained off half my glass of French Thunderbird in order to stimulate my appetite. Either the wine burned out all of my taste buds or the food was without taste. Could have been both. My recommendation is that they equip each table with a full sized spice rack then the customers could spice their own, distracting them from the food’s appearance and stimulating lunchtime creativity.
After shuffling our food from one side of the plate to the other, still hungry, we decided to try some dessert. Jade ordered a Vacherin with a meringue base, vanilla and strawberry ice cream, whipped cream and a red fruit sauce. This looked fine, although Jade questioned the provenance of the whipped cream. This was something this style restaurant can handle; remove it from the freezer, plop it on the plate, pour out some sauce from the plastic bag and you’re good to go!
On the other hand, the Cafe Gourmand, while presentable, consisted of a half of a demitasse of coffee with one dry piece of cake and a watery pudding like substance in a cute little casserole dish. I drank the coffee but Jade refused to have anything to do with the desserts.
Now, you might think that we had a miserable lunch, but we didn’t. The food provoked endless hilarity, our seating was comfortable and the service was attentive. We won’t go back but it was a good Friday adventure.