Sunday, May 20, 2007

Short Cuts at Cafe La Ruche

Decided to try Cafe La Ruche the other night. Many times we walked by the quaint little yellow-facade building off of M Street in Georgetown. The restaurant has more curb appeal than anything else...

La ruche is French for beehive. Cute...but not so much on the inside. In fact, it's a little gross. I don't know what was worse, the service or the food. "Jean-Pierre", our server, was a large sweaty man in an old t-shirt and apron (he reminded me a little bit of either a Super Mario Brother or Khalid Sheik Mohammad). At any rate, if he represented the best foot forward in the "front of the house"...I was afraid to imagine the kitchen. [Shudder.] (Actually, I imagine the kitchen to be a scene out of National Lampoon's European vacation, where they heat up frozen dinners in the micro.) I know many restaurants use shortcuts in their food preparation, but it was really apparent at La Ruche.

I had a watery "potage pariesienne"--translation some leeks and a few potatoes floating in salt water. We also tried the crab soup. It tasted remarkably similar to Campbell's tomato soup with a bit of Old Bay. The canard d'orange was an amazing feat of grease and dryness. The skin was appropriately crispy, but the over-generous dousing of jarred Chinese duck sauce turned parts of it into a candied, gooey mess. It was served with a lifeless combination of yellow and green squash and some diner-like seasoned potatoes. Then there were the mussels. A let down. They sat atop a bit of tomato sauce that might have been soup at one point. Not strong enough to flavor the mussels. And not enough of it to keep the little shelled creatures moist. Matt had the flank steak that was covered in a brown "reduction". It was A-1. Heated.

I think this place is more for desserts and coffee than dinner. A cafe, indeed is supposed to be simple dishes like quiche and baguette sandwiches. They did have a good selection of "french toast-wiches" like Croque Monsieur and Madame. We should have gone with those.

I don't think I'll go again...

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