After all the wonderful reviews, our expectations were perhaps exaggerated. We called a couple of days in advance to reserve. The weather turned out to be gorgeous. Nearby Chambord was mobbed. We expected Le Bon Terroir to be crowded, as it's in one of the touristiest parts of France, plus after the fantastic reviews. As it turned out, we were the only guests. Bizarre and a bit uncomfortable, but OK. Ten minutes after being seated the young server asked us if we wanted something to drink. Water was brought along with two kirs and a kind of focaccia amuse-gueule. Ten more minutes, our order was taken. There was a 48-euro and a 35-euro menu. We decided to go whole hog on the 48-euro menu, but there was one item, escargots, which we wanted to try from the 35-euro menu. Since we knew that in France to violate the menu system is not acceptable, we decided to order that one item a la carte. The server made a story about it and declared that she would have to ask la patronne if that were possible. I told her that that was the first time in my life that one needed to ask whether it was possible to pay for a dish a la carte. Then, the server appeared not to be aware of the various components of the menu. The whole process was awkward and uncomfortable. We actually live in France and speak decent French. Finally, after some more minutes passed, la patronne in person emerged to tell us that everything was possible, and from that moment on, things went better. The food: three starters, a foie gras duo, a lobster-and-shrimp combo, and the snails. Two mains: a blanquette of monkfish, and baked sweetbreads on a bed of mushrooms, all beautifully cooked. Except for the foie gras and the sweetbreads, the entire meal seemed to be soups. We could have eaten everything with a spoon. Very unusual indeed. A cheese board followed, which must be one of the best in France, and from which one was allowed to choose as many as one wants to sample. Desserts: a kind of baked plum compote -- another soup! -- and a dark chocolate pudding with creme anglaise. No wine. So for the two menus at 48.50 each, the escargots at an additional 17 euros, two aperifits at 15 euros together, and coffee, the lunch ran about €65 each. The dishes were very very good, but they did not rise to the level of making a strong statement. It was disappointing. The cheeses were sublime, on the other hand. The owner emerged again between the mains and the cheeses, and took us all round her herb garden, of which she was very proud. She is clearly a good chef, obsessed with food, friendly in the French way, and very enthusiastic. We got the feeling that perhaps she was trying to make up for the initial impact and misunderstandings. We appreciated her attention. We cannot judge the inside decor, but the garden, while pleasant enough, is furnished very indifferently, with plastic chairs and tables, tired tablecloths, and paper placemats, all very tired and retro to say the least, and very similar to some simple village bars we have here in the Pyrenees-Orientales. We don't care about things like that, but the incongruity between the pretension of the food, and the decor, was notable. The whole thing was one of the strangest dining experiences we've ever had.
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