Tuesday, December 8, 2015

CHATEAU DU PUITS ES PRATX - RESTAURANT REVIEW


This is a ticklish one.

We went to the Chateau to hear an Indian fusion jazz concert. We could have booked for just the concert but we decided to try the dinner menu as well. We experienced a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs. Let's see if I can make sense of the evening for you.


The venue is in some ways unique. The chateau sits just on the outskirts of Ginestas, a rural Languedocian village with a surprisingly robust English contingent in residence. The restaurant is situated in what had been the winery of the chateau, behind the main house. A conversation nook with a wood-burning stove greeted us on entry. The walls of the large space are well-pointed stone and the dining room is surrounded by the trappings of a major wine-producing facility - casks and cuvees (large vats) abound. Set up the way that it was, about 30 or 40 people could have been seated. We counted perhaps 25 attendees total as the concert commenced.

It's a very inviting space.

Cathey chose the 26 euro menu, starting with an assiette of tapas that was light and refreshing. Her main featured chunks of a white fish in cream sauce baked with melty cheese and a crisp crust. I went for the 36 euro seafood infusion, featuring some common and uncommon denizens of the deep, followed by duck breast with red wine reduction. At the finish for us both, a chocolate torte. With a pitcher of rose, the tab totaled 97 euros.

The food was competently prepared. The service - by our obviously British host - was prompt and timely. But I have three quibbles.

The meal was not worth the price. We don't usually eat dinner out, so perhaps I'm mistaken. But if the same meal had been served at lunch, I would have expected to pay no more than 20 euros per person.

I did not expect to pay for admission to the concert as well as dinner. I guess I didn't understand the blurb on the website.

Finally, the audience was one of the most inconsiderate in memory. We've been to free concerts nearby with a couple of hundred folks in attendance who were quieter and more attentive than the 25 or so at the Chateau. There were a few of us who came for the music. The rest acted like an American dinner theater audience, more interested in being heard than in listening. Maddeningly distracting given the quality of the music.

In sum, a night that started out with great promise given the venue and the musicians soured quickly given the nature of our fellow diners and the cost. A shame...

The image below is from the website, showing the room but with a different setup.

2. interior reception hall.interiorreceptionhall

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