1517 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709
can't believe why people fall for this place, I left here feeling completely conned.
I have two theories:
One is the old ""King New Clothes"" theory that no one wants to be called out as an ignoramus and everyone is pretending that the real basic food they charge a fortune for here, is actually gourmet.
The other (and please don't be offended, American friends) is that 90% of of the people that eat here have never been to France or eaten in a real French restaurant, so think this is worth all this the money to eat in a ""French Restaurant"".
Believe me everyone, and I speak as a European guy who has family in Paris who is often in France, this has as much in common with even an average Paris restaurant as the imitation Paris in Las Vegas has with the real Paris.
Whoever runs this place seems to think that if you give a restaurant a French name, have some waiters with European accents, make your guests wait forever between courses (in genuine French restaurants you never have to wait this long) that equals a French restaurant, and this allows them to mark up their really poor food by huge amounts. Well, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you are not fooling me.
The service was slow as a glacier, we arrived bang on time for our 6pm table, but it was not ready, so were told we had to wait in the bar. The staff then forgot about us, so at around 6.15 we had to ask them what was going on and were told our table was ready.
After about a ten minute wait, they brought olives, after about another ten minutes they brought bread. It took around another 30 minutes for a really basic starter to arrive. Then unbelievably around an hour for the main course.
Now here was where the biggest disappointment was. Before the main course arrived I was still slightly buying the line that if you wait a long time you get something special. Boy was I wrong! I'm a vegetarian, and was promised a ""vegetarian dish"". What I got was exactly the same as what my wife got, but minus the chicken and plus more chickpeas. It was actually some vegetables, chickpeas in warm water! I could have done better myself! It was at that point that I wished we had just gone to the really excellent Claremont Diner and paid $20 for their great food.
Towards the end of the evening I was beginning to laugh out loud at the nerve of the people that run this place to perpetrate such a huge con. Our final bill was over $180! For this we got the pleasure of spending around 2 hours waiting around for food and when it came it was chickpeas in warm water!
Now I know there are those of you out there thinking now that I am just a poor ignoramus who does not appreciate good food and the French ambiance. Let me say again I know France, have been there many times, had many great meals there.
I left the restaurant singing The ""Who""s ""Won't get fooled again"" under my breath. Need I say more?