PAUL BOCUSE

PAUL BOCUSE

Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, France

July 2006

Yes, I know Chef Bocuse is famous, a legend actually. We almost didn’t find the restaurant though in the small town of Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or, a 15 minute drive outside the town of Lyon since we realized we were on the wrong road and the map we had was useless.  By the time we finally found the place, we were nearly 20 minutes late for our lunch reservation.  The staff didn’t seem particularly bothered by this fact though even though there were only three other tables dining that day.  THE MOST FAMOUS CHEF IN FRANCE IS ONLY DOING THREE COVERS AT LUNCH? 

Unfortunately, I had spent the last few days recovering from a wicked bout of food poisoning I had picked up on this road trip so I wasn’t particularly hungry.  Since I had already canceled three other meals during our stay in Lyon (known as the gastronomic capital of France), I was determined to make it to Paul Bocuse.

Lunch that day started with an amuse bouche of shrimp flavored flan with a single shrimp on top.  Lynn tried the escargots, traditionally served in porcelain cups.  They were garlicky and snail like.  Nothing earth shattering.  To keep him company while he ate his snails, the maitre d’ insisted on bringing me a small green salad.  It was green but devoid of any salad dressing or taste whatsoever.  Whatever happened to the dressing, only Chef knows. 

We had originally wanted to try the chicken from Bresse (the house special) but were told it would take at least 45 minutes to cook.  We weren’t particularly keen on waiting 45 minutes for a chicken so the waiter offered us a quicker (fast food?) version of the famous chicken dish – roast pigeon with veggies. Lynn took him up on the offer; I opted for the sea bass which was plated with peas.  Peas?  This is three-star cooking?  The fish was decent but the entrée was entirely underwhelming.

We had two simple courses and then were encouraged to have dessert.  I was already on stomach overload but decided to at least look at the offerings. That said no less than three tables piled with desserts were wheeled over to us.  We were presented with a staggering amount of dessert options from chocolate cake to any fruit one can possibly imagine.  Lynn went with the chocolate cake and a scoop of ice cream; I had a simple poached peach.  We shared a half bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and the bill was 226 Euros.  Ultimately, we had three very simple courses and even without my gastronomic distress, I don’t know if the meal would have been anymore enjoyable.

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