Wednesday, May 17, 2017

L'AUBERGE DE LA CROISADE, CRUZY: RESTAURANT REVIEW

When we first arrived in our little corner of the Languedoc (now Occitanie) over a dozen years ago, L'Auberge de la Croisade was a go-to restaurant for upscale dining and special occasions. No wonder. The rural setting with boats passing almost within arm's length along the Canal du Midi was thoroughly inviting when viewed through the broad windows of the four-season room. Crisp linens, polished glassware, a comprehensive menu, and Bruno (the bubbling multi-lingual maitre d') promised a memorable French dining experience. And La Croisade and Bruno delivered more often than not.

And then, for some reason, years passed without a visit. We drove by frequently. We dined out often. But we just stopped going to La Croisade. Maybe because we were busily exploring new places to dine. Maybe because of rumors that the kitchen had been placing too much reliance on a rather muddy brown sauce. In any event, we had simply taken La Croisade out of our rotation.

A few weeks ago, a fiend whose taste we trust mentioned a satisfying formula lunch at La Croisade - 16.50 plus wine for a start, a main, and dessert. We decided to give it a go. We were not disappointed.

All was as remembered. Still the same effusive greeting from Bruno, although his forehead was a bit higher and his hair a bit greyer. (Forgive me, Bruno.) Still the same view, the same thoughtful appointments.

Only one of our party of six opted for an aperitif. The rest of us worked on a bottle of local rose. We finished two bottles before the afternoon's end. A little bowl of luques accompanied by small, cheesy little biscuits served to whet the appetite. The formula consisted of one menu item and one daily special for both the start and the main. For starters, the menu item featured a leaf of lettuce stuffed with bits of shrimp, sour cream, and rice vermicelli. Slices of smoked salmon stuffed with diced veggies comprised the special. Both were fitting portions, well constructed, although my salmon was not of the highest quality. Acceptable, certainly. Just not the best available. Quibble. The menu main was confit de canard on a bed of penne in cream sauce accompanied by a port reduction (not muddy). The larger bits of confit were a bit dry, as more than one of us noticed, but again...quibble. The sea bass special with a crab-based emulsion (not muddy) was perfect. The dessert assiette gourmand finished things off nicely.

With the one aperitif, the two bottles of rose, and coffees at the finish, the tab came to just under 25 euros per person. A satisfactory meal in a pleasant setting with cheerful and attentive service.

Recommended.


Stuffed Smoked Salmon


Lettuce Leaf Stuffed with Shrimp


Confit de Canard over Penne

Sea Bass



2 comments:

  1. It was a delightful lunch, thank you very much. Now the weather is becoming more settled it will be even better sitting outside.

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    Replies
    1. Our pleasure. Yes, the worm has turned. Warm days ahead.

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