What do you call it when you dine in a Michelin recommended restaurant and your dinner companions are mice? Oops? Or ooo la la oops?. Last night we walked around L'Opera to Boulavard des Capucines and found a very old, tres grand restaurant connected to a very grand old hotel.
L&P were not invited, and before you take offense, please know that they were wild little chiens all day long and could not be counted on to have any manners for such a dinner. However, that said, I don't think mice would have joined us if L&P were there. Later when we told them, they thought that was very funny indeed.
It was another of those 6 course dinners that sound fantastic and taste ok. I especially enjoyed the liverwurst and duck course which was hilariously called fois gras on the menu. I didn't fall off a turnip truck - I know the le difference between fois gras and liverwurst. Ha. (not even pate). Next course was lobster that obviously came from Maine two seasons back. It wasn't spoiled, just cooked to last for such a voyage. The lamb was pretty, but it was not lamb. We call it mutton. Close, looks the same, and even cooks up pretty much the same. But doesn't taste the same. However, the cheese course was fantastic and the desert very odd. It was a strawberry rhubarb compote and on the side in a shot glass filled with sugar was a stick. And on the stick was cotton candy. Just in case the mice started doing circus tricks and you wanted a concession treat for act two? I don't know. It just seemed odd. The compote thing was good, but at the bottom was pureed rhubarb. Just rhubarb. Kind of like pulling the stalk out of the ground and munching on it because the logic is pink=ripe. Wonder if the pastry chef actually ever tasted rhubarb? It needs assistance to taste like anything. Just pureed rhubarb is a shock and it was the last bite of the desert. Now that is one way to have your guests remember you, huh?
So the mice make an entrance at the next table over during our cheese course. Coincidence? I think not. The cheese was excellent and they must know that. The entire table of 6 jumped for their lives and the women now had their feet up on the table. And yes people, they did yell EEEEKKK. Out loud. English, French, all the same. EEEKKKK. But I have to say, EEEKKKK with a French accent is not as grating as EEEKKKK in English. Apparently the size of the mouse ranged from just a wee bit to the size of bugs bunny. Nonetheless, my feet found a perch off the floor too. Some ladies from China at another table close by spoke not English, French or EEEKKK because they just frowned at the jabbering and didn't move any of their feet.
Fortunately we were closing in on the end of our once forgettable, and now not so much forgettable, meal. Our waiter spoke perfect English for the two phrases he repeated each time. The first time, it was kind of sweet when he asked as he cleared our first course: "you like this?" Tres bon I answered thinking that would make him happy. Next he asked: "more bread you like?" And there you have his entire English vocabulary. Much like my French. If we had only one course I would have been fooled into thinking he spoke English. But after 6 courses, he repeated his phrases each time, in the same order and we knew that was the sum total of his English ability. He even asked if we wanted bread with our desert. Hey, if it works, use it, I guess.
The table of 6 cleared out to another location sans mice entertainment and we were left alone to fend for ourselves. Fortunately the mice were just as scared of us as we, ok, I was of them, so no repeat performances.
L&P thought the whole thing was just hilarious. Momo - frightened of wee bitty rodent. We rate our Michelin-must-see-restaurant a big 8 for entertainment, and a little bitty 4 for food. L&P said mutton was fine with them and would rate it a big fat 7.