If you had to describe French food (or maybe use the word “cuisine” to appear sophisticated like the French as we touring around the Parisian streets), what would you say? Would you talk about the French foods in a creepy way? “Oh those freaky frog legs, the uncooked meat called tar-tar, which omg I need to zap in the microwave before eating… Or would you talk about the elegance, the mouth watering steaks smoothed in savory oh la la sauce that melt ever so slowly in your mouth. Or how about the tarte tintin (upside down apple pie) served at the perfect temperature for a perfect desert?
Well, I decided to go one step further than food and try to describe the Parisian French restaurant experience I enjoyed over the weekend.
I had the pleasure of touring Paris with a local Parisian. Not only did I get the chance to see areas of Paris unknown to the average tourist, but I got to eat at a French restaurant and get a real local dining experience. Named Restaurant Polidor, its story began in 1845 and to this day, they don’t accept credit cards, probably one of the cool reasons that Wooden Allen decided to shoot his last film here entitled “Midnight in Paris”. I haven’t seen the film yet, but eating here has inspired me to hit up the video rentals.
You sit down. It’s crowded. Apparently Woody Allen’s film boosted recent business to the restaurant as people flock by the masses. The tables are placed as they would be in a school cafeteria and so you share tables with strangers, but you won’t even care.
The service is amusingly chaotic. The restaurant is packed with guests, but not with servers. The waiters/waitresses will avoid eye contact when possible. Our waiter disappeared and so we asked help from another. Stress in the air. Rather than assisting, the waiter lectured us about how we cannot expect help from other waiters because they are too busy. It almost felt like we did something wrong by asking for service….btw, this lectured occurred twice by two different waiters. And so you escape from the stressful and head for the toilet only to find that the toilet is a hole in the floor….old school.
But eventually you are served, and enjoy the “local French moment” with your friends. About 50 euros per person will get you a 3 course meal with pate, duck, delicious desert and a couple bottles of wine. And after the first bottle of “vin” (French word for wine) you forget the chaos. You look to your friends and realize that this is one of those experiences that you don’t get anywhere, but one that you get in Paris.
…And after we went out in search of our next bar a vin to continue our special night way beyond a Midnight in Paris.