In my seemingly endless search for a good French restaurant in the "burbs" south of Denver, I was informed of this bistro. I was most lured by the fact that they claim to serve authentic soup a l'onion in the winter months. Since today was a cold day, I decided to give it a try. I called the bistro first, to ensure they were open on a Saturday for lunch, and got a recording with their hours. I was going to ask to ensure they had the soup today, but couldn't, as it was a recording.
We found the quaint little place tucked away on a side street off Main Street in Littleton. It only seats about 25 people, so was glad to see they were not crowded. The first thing I asked was whether they had the onion soup. The server said it was only available at dinner (something that should be made clear, as real French onion soup is so hearty that it is a lunch staple and even substitute for many who find the real thing). I expressed my profound disappointment, and asked if they could possibly make it for me anyway, or if there was any left over. She checked and said no on both counts. She offered the cream of broccoli; but I told her I was there for authentic French food.
I had also read about the herbs de Provence fries and mussels, so consoled myself with ordering that. That dish, I was told, was not available, either, as they had a crowd the night before and did not have enough for the next day's lunch--even though it was on the lunch menu. I asked for unsweetend iced tea, and without any explanation, a flavored tea was brought to me. That, too, should be disclosed. It was pleasant, but I don't always care for flavored tea. I was not offered any refills.
My husband chose the Poulet Bechamel crepe ($12), and I finally chose the "Le Provencal" ($12) baked dish without the red sauce mentioned in the menu. The server was nice enough to bring me a complimentary large bowl of the fries with the dipping sauce while we waited, to compensate for my lack of being able to order what I really wanted. They were quite good, but not as sensational as I had imagined. The dip was quite good, as well.
The server brought out the food (not knowing how to pronounce "provencal", but thanked me for correcting him), and my plate included a small metal bowl that was the baked dish and a tasty oil and vinegar salad.
The baked "Provencal" looked quite small but promising. It had a thick stripe of cheese on top, and small chicken thin squares below, in addition to onions, spinach and a broth. I had to use a knife to cut through the cheese, but that was no problem--more cheese is better than less. The problem was that the dish wasn't particularly tasty; the chicken pieces did not seem to have been simmered with the broth, as they were not saturated and not tender or tasty. I ended up leaving most of the dryish chicken pieces while eating the rest of the contents.
My husband's crepe was quite substantial, and my small taste of it was good. The Bechamel sauce wasn't as tasty as it could be, but the crepe was quite filling. We eat crepes a lot in the months each year we spend in France. There also could have been a bit more of the sauce to more saturate the crepe, as we are accustomed to in France. A salad (greens with oil and vinegar) was served on the plate, as well, as is the French custom.
It is quite a cute and quaint place; but I don't think we will return. It turned out to be farther from us than we thought; and, maybe we just caught them on a bad day, but nothing was outstanding. Because it is so small with such limited seating, and because they don't take reservations, we are unlikely to chance it for dinner, even though I would like to see if their onion soup tips the scales as far as really good French food goes.
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