mardi, mars 27, 2007

Alas, L'Ourcine,

...I'm breaking up with you. When I visited you the first time, it was magical. The food was delicious, the waitresses were knowledgeable about the food and the wines, and we had a great time.

The second time was just as wonderful. I brought my sister along and we revelled in good food, wine and just a bit too much foie gras. The milk sorbet was fantastic.

The third time, you told us that there wouldn't be a table until 22h30, and then suddenly called us at 21h00 and told us our table was ready and waiting NOW. Once we finally scampered down there, the food was great and we forgot all about it.

The fourth time, the entrée and plat were great, but the desserts were inconsistent, to put it lightly. But--shock and betrayal--our waitress chased us from our table before we had asked for the check, so that she could fill it with another pair of guests. You should've known bettter, L'Ourcine; the only kind of French restaurant that does that is the kind that serves its food in cardboard or plastic. Nonetheless, I forgave you based on past experiences, and DJ forgave you because the waitress was cute.

This last time, however, will indeed be the last time. I brought a friend visiting from Chicago (by way of Cairo) and I even made a middle-of-the-evening reservation in the hopes of avoiding the unceremonious boot I got last time. Instead, we sat at your "bar" (a corner with two stools) for more than a half-hour, while our table--which you had given to another couple before us--was still occupied. Why didn't you chase them out the way we had been chased last time?

As time passed, a table of two opened up somewhere else on the floor. When I asked you about it, you told me that it was reserved for a group of five. Sure, but the five weren't there yet, were they? A few minutes later, another couple arrives and is seated before us. Why? Oh, because that table was meant for them--never mind that they were also a group of two and they had arrived after us. Why the differential treatment for us? The only thing I can think of that was true in both recent visits is that we both spoke French with foreign accents. If that's the reason, L'Ourcine, then fuck you.

In the end, the food was good, although I can already taste the quality slipping along with the service. The hors d'oeuvres came to our table after the entrée with only a grudging half-apology--and it was the same mousse of leeks that I've had at every meal here; are you capable of anything else? The entrée and plats were fine, but my dessert had the taste and consistency of lightly whipped bookbinding glue. Throughout the meal I saw you smile perhaps twice; the rest of the time your face was so sour I thought you might spoil our wine by looking at it.

So I'm not sticking around, L'Ourcine. This city is full of good bistros that will serve me food with a modicum of respect and likely for a better price. So that's it. We're breaking up. I'm moving on. I need my space. I've found someone else.

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