February 15, 2003

Still missing a French Bisto in Bethesda

We went to Mon Ami Gabi in Bethesda for lunch today as we had an itch for Bistro food on this lightly snowy day. The food was good, but I would not call it French. The restaraunt looks like it should be sitting in the Latin Quarter in Paris and the fresh baguette is warm and wonderful, but it seemed to stop there. Joy and I really wanted French Onion soup (Gratinee des Halles). We ordered the a bowl each. Have you ever wished there was much more cheese on your Gratinee? Well MAG gives it too you as there is a plethora of cheese. I now understand the balance of just the right amount of cheese to create a wonderful soup, like the one at Balzar in Paris or even the one at Bistot du Coin in DC. We tried to figure out what the type of broth was used as it was much lighter than any I have had before.

Our lunch entrees were a chicken and mushroom crepe for Joy and I had a Croque Monsieur. The crepe was larger than our forearm and had large chunks of chicken. The taste was good, but the size and texture was off. The Croque was stuffed with ham as if it was made in a Jewish deli in New York City. Again the balance of ingredients was way off.

The food seems like it is what a Mid-Westerner would create if they had been to France once for a few days many years before. The portions are huge and the balance of ingredients were way out of whack. If I was not looking forward to a good French bisto meal I may have liked it a little more. The look of the place is right but the food is very American, very big American. I will gladly take Bistrot du Coin any day, even with the drive and parking hassle.

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