My wife and I had not been to A La Provence since it changed from Albert's several years ago and we decided that our 48th anniversary would be an appropriate occasion for an upscale meal in an upscale setting. We were not disappointed.
Albert's had long been one of our favorite restaurants for special occasions and we anticipated that we would have a similar experience. We ordered an inexpensive white pinot grigio from an unfamiliar winery and were very pleased with it. It was pleasantly sweet but not too much so and served well as both a cocktail and dinner wine. What surprised me is that I was not given an opportunity to taste it before both glasses were served.
Our server asked if we had been there before and when we told her it had been a long time, she advised that things had changed substantially. but did not explain why as she ran down the list of specials for the evening. Initially, I had planned on having a filet but she strongly suggested the strip steak of which I am not a huge fan. After describing that it was served with a mushroom reduction sauce, I decided to give it a try. My wife selected a baked chicken with some other sauce.
When the meal arrived, I was stunned. The steak was huge but it was perfectly cooked and was, without question, the best strip I have ever eaten. It was incredibly tender as tender as any filet mignon I have eaten and the reduction sauce perfectly complimented the flavor of the meat. The steak was served with French country baked potato slices which were crusty and succulent and worked very well with the sauce.
I have a fairly hearty appetite and I went to work on that huge steak. It must have been at least 16 ounces, maybe a little more. By the time I had gotten half way through it, it was clear that I would not be able to finish it. It is rare that I have ever been unable to finish a steak and usually when it happens, it's because the steak was not very good. In this case, it was just too big so we took it home and my wife had it for breakfast the next morning, agreeing with me that it was excellent.
She also said her chicken was outstanding and the sauce complimented it as well as my reduction sauce had complimented my steak. Throughout the meal, our server checked back on us regularly. We opted not to have desert and since we were taking a large piece of steak home with us, she did not offer.
Other reviews have been critical of the setting in a strip mall or the restaurant's ambiance but we found no problem with either. But then, we do not consider ourselves to be aloof gormets who expect to find New York quality French restaurants in Tallahassee, Florida. We're certainly not going to spend $100 on a bottle of wine though we can certainly afford it. We are simply looking for good food and good wine in a decent setting. We got that and more with this meal.