It’s back to school for the kids after two loooong months of summer holidays, so Mum and Dad decided to go for lunch together. Yay! Unfortunately, our favourite restaurant is closed for a few days, so we decided to go to Le Basque in L’Isle-Jourdain instead.
Le Basque is known all over the area for its nice atmosphere and more-than-generous portions. In fact, the last time we ate there, my bavette was about the size of a piece of meat I would buy to feed the entire family. (Actually, this was one reason I didn’t go back there sooner. It just seems wasteful to serve portions that big when you don’t understand the concept of the doggy bag.). Le Basque is also known by many in L’Isle-Jourdain for a bit of a shady story about a fire at the original restaurant in Cologne. I don’t know how much of it is true, but in France the Basques, Marseillais, and Corsicans are often surrounded by a whiff of sulphur…
We were seated inside by a hectic young man. We ordered a lunch formula – main course, dessert and a glass of wine – for Monsieur, and a salad for me. Hubby’s dish was nice: duck hearts, patatas bravas and salad.
At Le Basque, salad can be a small affair, but not as a main course. So next time someone says “I’ll just have a salad”, remember this one:
It was most definitely the highlight of my meal. I will be a bit picky, though: the slice of foie gras was good, but thin enough to read the newspaper through, and the two pieces of confit de canard were dry and hard. I, a confessed confitaholic, actually left them.
My list of complaints doesn’t end there, though. The wine was bland and, in my opinion, very expensive – we often order by the glass, and today the cheapest glass was over 5 Euro. My husband was saving his because – instead of a dessert – he had ordered some cheese. We laughed out loud when it arrived. What the heck is this? If we had unexpected visitors and all I had in the fridge were a few slices of pre-packed Leerdammer and chalky, pasteurized Camembert, I would lie and say I had none.
This was NOT what we expected. There was Basque wine and Basque cake and Basque charcuterie, even a Basque carpet by the door… but no Basque cheese…? If you add to that the fact that despite a half-empty restaurant, we had trouble attracting the attention of a waiter and that in the middle of the meal, said waiter came and sprayed detergent liberally over the ajoining table (and over much of ours) before energetically wiping all empty tables down, we didn’t stick around for coffee.
Le Basque is fine. Its food is hit and miss (the meat last time was tender and juicy). The decor is nice – I particularly like the brick walls and strings of dried garlic – but I won’t be making it my regular hangout.
Go for grilled meat, and don’t go unless you are seriously hungry.