This is a sad story. It’s like I’ve just learned that Santa isn’t real. I wish I was exagerrating, but I’m not. I nearly cried at the restaurant out of disappointment and shear embarrassment.
I happened to have a gift certificate for a restaurant group in Boston and Bri-guy had an Open Table check, so we had $100 to fancy ourselves up. Where to? Mistral! I’d been once or twice with my Dad ages ago and had great meals. I was so excited to go again and was tempted by the Dover Sole on the menu.
I’ve been curious about Dover Sole Meuniere for ages. Its one of those classic french dishes that is the epitomy of good eating and luxury. Ever since I read My Life in France by Julia Child I’ve been even more curious and excited to try it. She shares a story in the book about her first meal (sole meuniere) in France as she & Paul first arrive, and it is the best meal she has ever had. I wanted that. I wanted to be wowed. For the first time I had the opportunity to try it.
The caveat- the “market” price. And the grand total for this evening’s sole? $60. I kid you not. Flown in daily from England. So I’m thinking, “We have $100, when am I ever going to have this chance, I’m going for it.” I asked the waiter, is this really the best thing on the menu, I explained I’ve never tried it so I don’t know what to expect etc etc. He said yes, it’s the most popular and he’s only had it sent back once or twice, and if I don’t like it, he’ll take it right back.
It looks pretty...
Well dear waiter, I just made your story three times. Ugh. I never, EVER, send anything back. I felt like such a brat, it was terribly embarrassing, but, though lovely, (I died over the copper roasting pan it was served in), I just didn’t like it. And for that much money it needed to be the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my 28 years on the face of this planet. It just wasn’t. So, back it went. It was just off, maybe my piece had a bad case of jet-lag or something.
I didn’t want to have to wait for another entree so I just ordered a caesar salad. And of course ate off of Bri-guy’s plate too. His duck was delicious, not amazing, but it was good. Luckily, I still had a good experience. We had a fun night, the appetizers were great- tuna tartare (I tried my “no thank you” bite) and crab ravioli (so good!) and honestly, that caesar salad was the best I’ve ever had. Ha.
What have we learned? There are some things in life I just don’t like. I don’t care how pricey it is or “how good!” everyone says it is, I just don’t like it. I’ve been a picky eater most of my life, but have expanded my palate by leaps and bounds by cooking for myself and trying to new things with friends in the past few years. Yet there are still things I can’t seem to ease into- most of it has to do with texture (sushi, tuna tartare, most anything that is squishy or odd & chewy).
And there are flavors, even in the best preparation I don’t like- olives, capers- you get the point. Bri-guy & I had a conversation on the walk home after dinner about what makes a fancy restaurant- you know, what’s in a name, reputation, food quality. It’s clear that people go to Mistral to be seen. It is a scene- the people watching was amazing. But they’re not necessarily a discerning clientele, they go to spend money because they can and they aren’t really concerned with how good the food actually is. Don’t get me wrong, Mistral has an amazing product, but for the price, to me it should be better. This is where the Boston restaurant scene fails. Some of the best food is in lesser known spots, and not even in Boston- but across the river in Cambridge. I suggested to Bri-guy that we expand our horizon and hop across the river for some amazing food, so hopefully more of that to come! For now, I’ll be happy that I got to try something I had been wanting for a long time, and I got it for free. (Yes, that lovely waiter left it off the check, we left him a nice tip.)
Read Full Post »