Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Douceur de France

367 Glover St., Marietta, GA www.douceurdefrance.com

On Saturday afternoon my dad, Vicki, Kyle and I had brunch at Douceur de France. I have eaten at this restaurant at least half a dozen times, but my experiences have been spread out between the past five years. The owners have a second location in Roswell. If you’ve never been there, be aware that the Marietta restaurant is located in an industrial area very close to a train track. When you’re driving there you’ll think you’re in the wrong place, then you’ll see it. Once you’re seated you’ll be treated to the frequent loud noise of a passing train. So loud that you won’t even try to continue your conversation with your dining partner.

Sounds atrocious, right? You’ll likely forget all about that once you start eating Douceur de France’s great food, or maybe even prior to that, when you go inside and view their pastry counter and revolving display holding at least 2 dozen types of tarts, pastries, ├ęclairs and cakes. You’ll be hard pressed to select only one.

Normally I’d be in favor of cake before breakfast (yes, you read that correctly), but I averted my eyes from the sweets counter and headed outdoors to sit on the patio, where the goodies were out of sight. Still on the diet, or at least making an attempt, if you haven’t already guessed.

I ordered the Panini salmon ($7.85). Delicious crisply grilled baguette with two perfectly poached eggs, a fair portion of fresh smoked salmon and Hollandaise sauce. The side dish of hash browns was dynamite and required no seasoning. The portion was good without being too much. My dad ordered the tourte a poulet (chicken pot pie), which had a wonderful, buttery crust and thick brown mushroom sauce, and was a steal at $7.95.

Besides the Croque Madame, which I remember had great deal of melted cheddar along with a healthy portion of turkey ($5.90), I can’t recall everything I’ve eaten at Douceur de France over the years. I do, however, know that I liked everything.

Frankly I was worried about taking my family to this restaurant, because in the past I have had painfully slow, apathetic service. My friend Kelly and I have had at least two lunches here that took nearly two hours on weekdays when we clearly needed to get back to work. The waitstaff is primarily young, female and flippant (or scattered, at best). Even getting a menu has been a chore in the past.

However, I was relieved that the service on Saturday was much improved. Our waitress, though young and female, took our orders about 10 minutes after we were seated (trust me, much better than usual), and delivered our entrees correctly and completely about 15 minutes later. Pretty good considering the restaurant was nearly full. The young woman was polite and actually smiled at us once. I hope this wasn’t a fluke. The reason I haven’t been back to this restaurant in the past year is because the service was so unbelievably bad the last time I ate there. I’d love to think it has turned around.

So for the price of breakfast at IHOP, you can get a lovely French-inspired meal at a cute restaurant. (IHOP is always my standard for comparison when I review brunch, because the food there is consistently average or a little better, and everyone is familiar with the menu and cost of dining there.)

Verdict: Very good French breakfast and lunch. The jury is still out on the service.

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