Fancy French Fun

Written by Mary Ann Fitzmorris March 02, 2024 21:54 in Dining Diary

My obsession to make every Friday a pursuit of Fish Frys was interrupted when we did something else yesterday. The Southern Hotel started their “French Friday” series this third Friday just passed. We had to go.

From 11-7 each upcoming Friday this promotion offers a sweet deal: $5 French wines, champagnes, The French 75 and Boulevardier cocktails, as well as French food: $8 fries and a Croque Monsieur and Lyonnaise salad at the regular price of $17 and $14 respectively.

We went after the show and the place was a madhouse. It was gloomy weather, making the courtyard less appealing than it usually is. There was no place to sit inside. I wiped off the wetness from the metal chairs, but they were still cold as we sat right outside the bar doors.

I was shocked at how good the service was for the number of people everywhere. Our bartender/waiter was hustling enough to make me exhausted just looking at him, but he got everything right and it was shockingly fast. Impressive.

We got a glass of champagne, a Rosé, and a Cab for Tom. And we ordered all three food items on this first Friday menu. (It will change each week.)

Within minutes we had all the drinks. I couldn’t believe the generous pour for $5. Tom thought his Cabernet was great, and we loved the champagne and Rosé.

The drinks came first, but the food wasn’t far behind. We joked that this was the busiest The Gloriette ever gets. And that’s too bad, because The Gloriette is a very good restaurant, and has been since Day 1. But no one is ever in there to enjoy it.

We did last night though. The fries have always been housecut since the day Oxlot opened, and The Gloriette kept up the practice. Because of the volume, we couldn’t imagine them still doing the housecut fries, but they did seem to be. Very good frozen doppelgangers have emerged in recent years, though, so I'm never certain, but these did still appear to be housecut. They were hot and even crisp. They were served without an accompanying sauce of any kind, and we still loved them.

The Croque Monsieur was beautiful. It was tall with folded ham sticking out from the sides, and a béchamel sauce on top under the melted cheese made it a little messy. The bread was toasted and the Dijon mustard was subtle. Overall, this was a delicious bite of food, and extraordinarily filling. Beside the sandwich was a mixed green salad tossed in a light French vinaigrette. There were mixed-colored grape tomatoes interspersed with the lettuce. This was quite a substantial plate of food, and plenty enough for two.

The Lyonnaise salad was arugula and curly endive tossed in the same light French vinaigrette with bits of shallots in it. Lardons were plentiful throughout. A crispy coating surrounded a soft-boiled egg, their French version of a Scotch egg. It ran when cut, unlike a Scotch egg. This too, was a substantial plate of food, and it was a fun meal.

Not long after we sat down we saw Joe Tusa arrive to play piano. We love running into him around town, and we enjoy his music very much. His tunes made a really enjoyable time on a gloomy day even more enjoyable. So enjoyable we will be there every Friday for more French fun.