Sunday, September 21, 2014

France: Les Grandes Ducs Cafe Dijon

We stopped for lunch at Le Grands Ducs after our morning at the Beaux Arts Museum. It is usual in France for museums to close for lunch, and this cafe was just across the street from the entrance to the museum courtyard. It was packed with local office people also out on their lunch breaks. A word of warning -- this whole restaurant was smokey, I would assume today the rules on smoking are different. We stayed because we were cold, tired, and hungry.
The decor was unexceptional, wooden tables, paperplace mats, and napkins. Our table was tucked into a back corner, but there were no others available, so we were happy to get it.

I started with vegetable soup; everyone else ordered the onion. The onion soup was excellent, redolent with onion and a hint of wine, topped with thick bread and cheese. The vegetable, on the other hand, was Knorr, or I'll eat my beret, not even good Knorr. It certainly had me wondering why I hadn't ordered the onion.

Al was the brave one in the group; he ordered the Jambon Bourgeonneis, which was ham in a green aspic with cornichons (little pickles). It looked really gross to me, but Al said it tasted good. It's supposed to be a local specialty. It was served with bread and frites.

I opted for a Croque Monsieur, which is a grilled cheese sandwich with the cheese on the outside. It was served with a salad with a creamy Dijon dressing. It was very good.

The service here was spotty. We got our drinks pretty quickly, but after that, nothing ever seemed to go quite right. Now, in all fairness, it was busy so I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

The food was not worth coming here for; it was very ordinary, but the location is excellent. Sometimes we sacrifice the exceptional dining experience in favor of a short walk, especially on long days. The reviews of the restaurant pretty much share the experience that we had so don't expect much except convenience.

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