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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
Grand Cru restaurant in Arlington 
24th-May-2017 09:26 am
Summer
I met DizzyLlama for dinner on Monday night at Grand Cru in Ballston, to which I had never been. http://www.grandcru-wine.com/ They advertise themselves as a "wine bar" and French restaurant. I went because the menu had ALL THE CHEESE. As I am not quiet with my opinions, let me tell you what our hundred dollars purchased in a meal for two:

We bought two appetizers, one glass of Malbec (for him), two entrees, and two desserts.

The wine list was underwhelming. For a place advertising wine, the list was missing anything organic or sulfate-free, so I didn't even get to have the one glass of wine that I'd hoped to enjoy with the evening. DizzyLlama got a glass of Malbec which he indicated was decent. I got a cup of decaf vanilla-black tea. The teacup was decently sized, and the one cup plus the never-empty glass of water were sufficient for me.

Unfortunately, the dinner menu did not give full descriptions of the items on it, which caused me massive unhappiness right out of the gate. The first of our two appetizers was the "Cheese Fondue, Cave aged Gruyere, white wine and shallots. Served with croutons." Nowhere in that description did it say "loaded with spices, particularly curry." I was NOT HAPPY. My cheese dreams were crushed. (DizzyLlama, on the other hand, thought it was quite tasty and ate the whole thing himself.) The waiter was taken aback at my vitriol about being denied cheese due to a faulty menu. But since DL was enjoying it, we didn't send it back or ask for a replacement.

The other appetizer we ordered was "Wild Mushroom Strudel. A selection of wild mushrooms and cheese baked in filo dough. Served with fennel and arugula salad." Nowhere on that description was the additive "drizzled with balsamic reduction" but that actually was a nice taste contrast to the decently-sized mushroom burrito that appeared. I enjoyed this appetizer quite a bit, and ate all but the sample bite that I gave to DL to try.

By this time, the waiter was getting a clue about the menu being less than useful. So when he took our dinner orders, he was a little more prepared for my blast of questions. I asked how spicy was the sauce that came with the "Prime Filet of Beef*(GF). French beans, mashed potatoes and wild mushroom sauce." He replied that it was highly seasoned. So I ordered the "Rustic Macaroni and Cheese. White Cheddar and aged Gruyere cheese sauce with in-house smoked bacon over penne pasta" instead. It had more pepper in it than I was happy about, but the sauce was sufficient to calm it down, so I decided on a verdict of tasty for this one too.

DizzyLlama got the "Aromatic Crusted Fillet of Salmon* (GF). Crisp shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, and pea shoot salad, chickpea puree and a chili-curry oil." He managed to pull a flake off of the middle to let me sample. The salmon was deeeelish. The curry sauce wasn't, but that's ok. It wasn't as though I was surprised it appeared. Dizzy Llama cleaned his plate off. I cleaned mine. It was all good for the entrées.

For dessert, DizzyLlama got my second choice, which was a mousse with ganache cube accent. The mousse was good, though the cube was just odd. I got the Belgian chocolate fondue for one. On request, the waiter did not bring me bananas in my assortment. On his own inspiration, he brought me pineapple instead. I didn't know/remember that chocolate-dipped pineapple was so good. It was fabulous.

Our assigned waiter wasn't very good according to my American standard. He did not check on us more than once during the appetizer course, and we had to summon him to take our entrée orders. He never asked if I wanted more hot water for my tea, nor did he ask DL more than once if he wanted anything else with dinner after he finished his wine. The serving mice who scurried through the room filling water glasses and picking up dirty plates were excellent.

We paid, walked back to DL's house and my car, and parted ways. I realized that I'd been drinking a LOT of water during dinner and that my hands were starting to swell. By the time I went to bed, I'd taken my ring off and hit the restroom often enough to notice. My pulse was pounding (but not fast) when I went to sleep. I woke up with the realization that I'd probably consumed a week's worth of salt at dinner with all that cheese and chocolate. (Yes, I'm slow that way.)

Despite the problems, I enjoyed the meal. In fact, now that I know they are a sneaky-spicy place, I'm considering when I might be able to go back...

This entry was originally posted at http://reedrover.dreamwidth.org/2076213.html and has comment count unavailable comments so far. Please comment there using OpenID or here if that is your preference. I'm still reading both journals.
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