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LA TARTINE, ALBI - RESTAURANT REVIEW




Tourists in France are fortunate that they are touring in France. Unlike restaurants in other places that can count sightseers as a captive audience, restaurants in France simply will not succeed unless they pay more than minimal attention to the quality of the food that they are serving. As a result, and as I have said before, an average restaurant in France is better than most restaurants in other parts of the world. A case in point is La Tartine in Albi.

Let's face it. If your restaurant is located in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, right across from the entrance to the beautiful riverside gardens and the Toulouse-Latrec Museum, in sight of the cathedral, you could serve corn dogs on a stick and sell them out most days. La Tartine does not sell corn dogs on a stick. It does serve reasonably solid food at a decent price. That's not meant to damn with faint praise. That is exactly what La Tartine should be doing.

Of the four of us in the party, two chose the cassoulet de Toulouse and two chose the menu of the day. Connie started with a green salad topped with Roquefort and walnuts followed by a joint of chicken from the plancha and frites. I had an onion tarte with a small side salad followed by a grilled link of Toulouse sausage and frites. For our desserts, Connie had sugared crepes and I had a small slab of dense chocolate cake with creme Anglais and whipped cream. The crust of the cassoulet may not have been broken seven times but the cassoulet tasted as a cassoulet should. The frites were reconstituted but hot and plentiful. My single link of sausage, though tasty, did look a bit lonely on the plate. The most telling commentary may be that the only truly noteworthy dish of all of the dishes was the chocolate cake.

With two demis of wine and coffees at the finish, the tab ran just under 80 euros.

This is France. Average can be a good thing.





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