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LA POSTE MARTIN'S RESTAURANT, OLONZAC - RESTAURANT REVIEW

On a recent Sunday night in August in Olonzac, English seemed to be the preferred language - Brits, Irish, and Americans jammed the Cafe de la Poste as we sat down for a glass of pink before dining in Martin's close by. It's a little jarring but who are we to complain? We are American, after all.

We chose to dine inside given the occasional sprinkle. Places were set for about twenty in the small room but the tables for two were severely undersized. By the time that a water bottle, an ice bag with wine, bread, two sets of glasses, silver, and rectangular plates were set down, the empty table next to us had to be recruited for the overflow. We were not the only party of two that found it necessary to commandeer more space.

An amusee plate of olives, an anchovy-heavy tapenade, and tiny little quiches was all good. Cathey started with an array of escargot - with garlic butter, with bleu cheese, and with ratatouille - each accompanied by a flaky pastry. Cathey's first escargot after 16 months in France and nicely done. I opted for a small ham omelet with a side salad. Fresh eggs, plain vanilla diced ham. OK. Cathey's pork with chorizo and cheese came bubbling hot. The pork was well spiced and the chorizo tasty. Cathey thought that the cheese took it over the top but I liked the taste/texture combination. My roast lamb was a bit of a disappointment - not the best cut and not interestingly spiced. It was French lamb so it was OK, but French lamb can be special. This was not.

The big rectangular plates came with two sides, both a bit mushy and nondescript, with eggplant and carrot and cheese and egg and whatever. One of the sides would have sufficed if it shown a bit more oomph. Oddly enough, our little glasses of frites were special, the best in France so far. Real slices of potato, not reconstituted, fried very hot and very quickly so they puffed.

The chocolate cake at the end was proper French dense chocolate cake.

With a demi of wine and a bit of extra service for the sole, kept-hopping waitress, 55 euros.

Don't get me wrong. The meal was worth the price. But if the objective of Martin's is to take the next step, there's a still a bit to go. Since we seldom go out to dinner, and therefore like our dinners to be special, we may not return.

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