Even prior to our somewhat substantially-sized paintball gathering, stenoodie and I had been planning a catch-up session for some time now. Once the details had been ironed out, we set out for downtown - her heading from the east, and me heading from the west.
Space was scarce inside the dainty-looking French bistro, so reservations were of great significance. I was made aware of this in an adequately friendly manner: it was evident that the restaurant looked towards serving patrons that understood the value of their dishes as opposed to garnering hype and lineups as a fad eatery.
A coat rack was positioned next to the bar area, while hooks had been installed underneath (as I later discovered). This definitely provided more room for movement, despite not being the most comfortable of arrangements.
I dove for the booth seat, as I could rest my backpack without bothering other patrons. Admittedly, the adjacent tables were seated quite closely, but not to an unbearable extent.
As a matter of fact, it was the music blaring overhead that proved bothersome. Over the course of the meal, it became increasingly difficult to converse in peace. Noise levels had surged in order to be heard over the escalating jazzy tunes.
Of particular interest to me were the light fixtures, for I had not laid eyes on such a style in my previous eating endeavours. Moreover, I appreciated that the intensity of illumination could be adjusted (diffused) to suit both daytime and evening hour ambiances.
My dining partner had expressed initial doubts towards my suggestion of a starter soup, though was later more receptive to the idea after my elaborate explanation on the various degrees of variation amongst its constituents. Having tasted many-a-French-Onion-Soup in my lifetime, I concur that a skillfully executed bowl will succeed in impressing even the most dubious of tasters. Otherwise, have your glass of water ready.
To retell the experience with precision is an unmistakable struggle, so my only suggestion is to try this delicacy and adopt your own story.
A fresh set of utensils were placed before us just prior to the entry of the entrées.
Its presentation was inviting, though simultaneously questionable. Odd it seemed that steak was brought to the table sliced instead of whole; in addition, peppercorn sauce is commonly seen in a pitcher for guests to include at their desired level. I, for one, am far from being a heavy meat-eater. A single piece of the chewy beef was enough for me. The fries, on the other hand, were easily my new restaurant fave. (McD's is my go-to fast casual spot.)
Parisian Gnocchi was more enjoyable than I would have imagined. Spongy instead of starchy and bold instead of boring, stenoodie did not hesitate to exclaim its comparable qualities to her feasts in Italy. Both of us were equally bewildered at the restaurant's unexpected incorporation of roasted butternut squash and chestnut. Crisp crouton dust was another twist we appreciated.
Both were perceptive of customer needs, especially in between courses when plates were to be swapped and accidents were to be cleaned.
Single, gender-separated stalls were found at the bottom of a rickety flight of wooden stairs. The interior was bright, well-stocked, and decorated minimally with floral decals on the toilet paper and paper towel dispensers. First impressions of the bathroom were spotless, but this observation deteriorated as the wastebins overflowed into the mid-afternoon hours. Also be mindful that the washroom and stairwell ceilings are low.