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HOTEL JALABERT - RESTAURANT REVIEW

If ever there was a restaurant review that required a warning label, this is the one. When visiting Hotel Jalabert, you can't care about the niceties. There's no menu. There's only jug wine, probably from the local cooperative. The dishes, glasses, and utensils are clunky. The 'napkins' are old tea towels. And there's a slightly musty odor in the background, the result of the woodwork having soaked up generations of grease. But if you want to taste food as it might have been served to you in a French farmhouse kitchen 50 years ago, there's not a better place to have that experience...other than a French farmhouse. This was our third visit to Hotel Jalabert and each has been rewarding.

Madame greets us with a genuine smile and handshakes all around. She's stooped and shrinking and ageless. I have no doubt that she served partisans...perhaps during WWI? Our non-uniformed waitress (grand-daughter?) asked who wanted the poultry and who wanted the pork. The ladies took the former and I the latter. Meanwhile, Madame brought us rose wine in an unmarked bottle with a cork shoved in, well chilled. 

Out came a simple salad, just fresh lettuce with a homemade oil and vinegar dressing. Then rounds of fresh bread (no butter). Then a charcuterie plate - three portions each of Serrano, pate en croute, suacisson, and head cheese. A happy addition was a wedge of the very tasty house pate. When we were finished, having been given plenty of time, the charcuterie was removed but the salad stayed. Then came the main course.

My pork cheeks came in a metal bowl, braised with red bell pepper to fork tenderness, with a simple reduction. The poultry (guinea fowl?) was also braised, with olives, not quite as thoroughly as the pork, and served with a reduction. We shared a large bowl of pasta for which grated fresh cheese was provided as the only dressing. It was all good, plain, hearty food and more than we could finish.

At about this point, Madame walked through, noticed that we had about finished our wine, and brought us another bottle.

Cheese plate next - mimolette, brie, and a white, perhaps comte. Then dessert - house-made chocolate mousse with bits of chocolate and a dab of whipped cream. The French really do know how to do chocolate. And finally, coffee poured from a kettle.

54 Euros total for the three of us.

I can't stress enough that the Hotel Jalabert is not for everyone. It's caught in a time warp and is not haute cuisine to begin with. But it's a favorite of ours. And we hope Madame lasts forever.


EDIT: Madame has retired. She left a note: "After preparing meals for you for the past 53 years, I have decided to devote the time that I have left to preparing meals for my family." God Bless!

Read more of my reviews HERE.
You have to be adventurous. You can't care about the niceties. There's no menu. There's only jug wine, probably from the local cooperative. The dishes, glasses, and utensils are old and clunky. The 'napkins' are old tea towels. But if you want to taste food as it might have been served to you in a French kitchen 50 years ago, there's not a better place to have that experience. This was our third visit and each has been rewarding.

Madame greets us with a smile missing more teeth than it contains. She's stooped and smiling and ageless. I have no doubt that she served partisans...perhaps during WWI? Our non-uniformed waitress (grand-daughter?) asked who wanted the poultry and who wanted the pork. The ladies took the former and I the latter. Meanwhile, Madame brought us rose wine in an unmarked bottle with a cork shoved in, well chilled. Out came a simple salad, just fresh lettuce with a homemade oil and vinegar dressing. Then rounds of fresh bread (no butter). Then a charcuterie plate - three portions each of Serrano, pate en croute, and head cheese. A happy addition was a wedge of the very tasty house pate. When we were finished, having been given plenty of time, the charcuterie was removed but the salad stayed. Then came the main course.

My pork cheeks came in a metal bowl, braised with red bell pepper to fork tenderness, with a simple reduction. The poultry (guinea fowl?) was also braised, with olives, not quite as thoroughly as the pork, and served with a reduction. We shared a large bowl of pasta for which grated fresh cheese was provided as the only dressing. It was all good, plain, hearty food and more than we could finish.

At about this point, Madame walked through, noticed that we had about finished our wine, and brought us another bottle.

Cheese plate next - mimolette, brie, and a white, perhaps comte. Then dessert - house-made chocolate mousse with bits of chocolate and a dab of whipped cream. The French really do know how to do chocolate. And finally, coffee poured from a kettle.

54 Euros.

I can't stress enough that the Hotel Jalabert is not for everyone. It's caught in a time warp and was not haute cuisine to begin with. But it's a favorite of ours. And we hope Madame lasts forever.
You have to be adventurous. You can't care about the niceties. There's no menu. There's only jug wine, probably from the local cooperative. The dishes, glasses, and utensils are old and clunky. The 'napkins' are old tea towels. But if you want to taste food as it might have been served to you in a French kitchen 50 years ago, there's not a better place to have that experience. This was our third visit and each has been rewarding.

Madame greets us with a smile missing more teeth than it contains. She's stooped and smiling and ageless. I have no doubt that she served partisans...perhaps during WWI? Our non-uniformed waitress (grand-daughter?) asked who wanted the poultry and who wanted the pork. The ladies took the former and I the latter. Meanwhile, Madame brought us rose wine in an unmarked bottle with a cork shoved in, well chilled. Out came a simple salad, just fresh lettuce with a homemade oil and vinegar dressing. Then rounds of fresh bread (no butter). Then a charcuterie plate - three portions each of Serrano, pate en croute, and head cheese. A happy addition was a wedge of the very tasty house pate. When we were finished, having been given plenty of time, the charcuterie was removed but the salad stayed. Then came the main course.

My pork cheeks came in a metal bowl, braised with red bell pepper to fork tenderness, with a simple reduction. The poultry (guinea fowl?) was also braised, with olives, not quite as thoroughly as the pork, and served with a reduction. We shared a large bowl of pasta for which grated fresh cheese was provided as the only dressing. It was all good, plain, hearty food and more than we could finish.

At about this point, Madame walked through, noticed that we had about finished our wine, and brought us another bottle.

Cheese plate next - mimolette, brie, and a white, perhaps comte. Then dessert - house-made chocolate mousse with bits of chocolate and a dab of whipped cream. The French really do know how to do chocolate. And finally, coffee poured from a kettle.

54 Euros.

I can't stress enough that the Hotel Jalabert is not for everyone. It's caught in a time warp and was not haute cuisine to begin with. But it's a favorite of ours. And we hope Madame lasts forever.
You have to be adventurous. You can't care about the niceties. There's no menu. There's only jug wine, probably from the local cooperative. The dishes, glasses, and utensils are old and clunky. The 'napkins' are old tea towels. But if you want to taste food as it might have been served to you in a French kitchen 50 years ago, there's not a better place to have that experience. This was our third visit and each has been rewarding.

Madame greets us with a smile missing more teeth than it contains. She's stooped and smiling and ageless. I have no doubt that she served partisans...perhaps during WWI? Our non-uniformed waitress (grand-daughter?) asked who wanted the poultry and who wanted the pork. The ladies took the former and I the latter. Meanwhile, Madame brought us rose wine in an unmarked bottle with a cork shoved in, well chilled. Out came a simple salad, just fresh lettuce with a homemade oil and vinegar dressing. Then rounds of fresh bread (no butter). Then a charcuterie plate - three portions each of Serrano, pate en croute, and head cheese. A happy addition was a wedge of the very tasty house pate. When we were finished, having been given plenty of time, the charcuterie was removed but the salad stayed. Then came the main course.

My pork cheeks came in a metal bowl, braised with red bell pepper to fork tenderness, with a simple reduction. The poultry (guinea fowl?) was also braised, with olives, not quite as thoroughly as the pork, and served with a reduction. We shared a large bowl of pasta for which grated fresh cheese was provided as the only dressing. It was all good, plain, hearty food and more than we could finish.

At about this point, Madame walked through, noticed that we had about finished our wine, and brought us another bottle.

Cheese plate next - mimolette, brie, and a white, perhaps comte. Then dessert - house-made chocolate mousse with bits of chocolate and a dab of whipped cream. The French really do know how to do chocolate. And finally, coffee poured from a kettle.

54 Euros.

I can't stress enough that the Hotel Jalabert is not for everyone. It's caught in a time warp and was not haute cuisine to begin with. But it's a favorite of ours. And we hope Madame lasts forever.

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