Too much of a muchness

We are always keen to try new restaurants — new to us, anyway — and so yesterday we set out with friends Helen and Sara to La Table de Vialard, a small but nicely decorated place on the outskirts of Sarlat. And there I had a lunch that, to some extent, defeated me.

We all began with a kir, and then reviewed the rather large menu. Helen ordered an entrée that involved a warmed tomato with bits of cheese; she said she really enjoyed it. But the rest of us decided to skip having a starter and instead chose a plat principal and a dessert.

For the three women, main courses included duck and pork, cooked in a variety of ways. Jan, Helen and Sara all seemed pretty satisfied. However, I went for the special hamburger, which included a slice of sautéed foie gras, melted cheese, lettuce, and thick-cut fries, and found it was all just a bit too much. I also made a mistake in ordering it, because I first asked for it to be well done, but then changed my order to à point, which in France can mean very rare. Here’s a look at how my plate arrived:

Massive bun, large slice of foie gras — all a bit too much.

As it happened, the meat was indeed pretty rare, and not particularly appetizing because it was actually quite dry. The result is that I left about half of the burger on my plate.

Then came dessert, and again it seems that for this restaurant at least, size matters. I had ordered the classic dessert of profiteroles — choux pastry filled with ice cream and topped with a rich chocolate sauce — which is often served as three separate pastries. Not mine. As you can see, it was one massive pastry, holding three scoops of ice cream:

At least Helen and Jan were there to help me finish it.

Now in fact, it was quite delicious. But as Helen pointed out, the presentation left a lot to be desired. While the pastry wasn’t “as large as my head,” to quote an old expression, it was certainly as large as my fist.

Needless to say, I didn’t eat dinner last night.

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