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That's all folks

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I really shouldn't have expected to find a piece of France in Southwestern Ohio.

On Saturday, I dined at C'est Tout, a restaurant in Oakwood that claims to be a French restaurant. This was my first experience with a "French" restaurant in the United States, and I was eager to taste the cuisine. I was certainly more looking forward to the company that evening, as I was dining with some of my relatives from the East Coast who I don't get the chance to see very often.

I had some apprehension before even getting to the restaurant, as my cousin Christine told me that the attire was somewhat dressy, and I dislike such attire when eating is involved. My fears were confirmed when I arrived... the lighting, decorations, and demeanor of the clientèle combined to tell me that this is a "nice" restaurant. When it comes to restaurants, I'm not all that pretentious... I am not well-versed in contemporary public dining etiquette, and I probably can't distinguish the salad fork from a tuning fork... but I am quite familiar with the French language, and C'est Tout disappointed me in this regard.

First, there were some horrid misspellings on the menu... sadly, none of these had anything to do with putting the decimal point too far to the right in the prices... no, I found that when describing a certain kind of salad, the menu proclaimed it to be "Caésar". Strike one. Shortly thereafter, the waitress visited the table and rattled off the day's specials with auctioneer-like speed. I stopped paying attention to her after her second sentence, because she pronounced the word "foie" (as in "foie gras") to rhyme with "boy". Yikes, strike two. I place my order for the salmon entrée, naturally thinking that it was the thinly sliced smoked salmon appetizer that I love to get in France... I was wrong. No, the waitress apparently used the word "entrée" to describe main dishes, which isn't so much something one would expect in a French restaurant. Strike three.

The evening wasn't a total loss. The wine was tasty. Justin had ordered a merlot from the Rhône valley, and I quite liked it. The champagne cream sauce surrounding my chunk of salmon was very well done, and not too sweet... the carrots on the plate were very good, and I don't even like cooked carrots. The food was very well presented. My relatives were all very impressed with their dishes... Jerilyn had chicken... Justin had duck, and he said it was the best duck he'd ever had... Christine had trout... Spencer had a salmon steak... Helen had the cream of cauliflower soup and a salad... I did feel a bit out of place for not singing the praises of the food. It wasn't bad... no, it certainly wasn't bad... but I did think it a bit overpriced for the quality. Perhaps I should give C'est Tout another chance by trying something different on another occasion.

In retrospect, I probably shouldn't be surprised that C'est Tout didn't feel like a French restaurant. After all, it's in Oakwood, in Ohio. It wasn't smoky, the staff didn't replace all of your silverware after each course, and their bread didn't even remotely resemble a baguette. But you know, American restaurants in Paris aren't really very American either.

Created by donetrawk
Last modified 2005-01-11 06:43 PM
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