Tuesday, December 4, 2012


       As we walked in to Provence, the atmosphere was immediately inviting. The ambiance was warm. The lighting was dimmed, but the accent lights throughout created just enough light to see your menu, your date, and the rest of the restaurant, without forcing a focal point. The service was very friendly, as well as family friendly, which is always a plus when you have a soon-to-be 4 month old in tow. The wait staff was light-hearted, friendly and knowledgeable of the language, but did not make those lacking in their French feel inadequate. Our particular waitress, Lauren, was above and beyond in her practice of customer-service; always had a genuine smile, and was ready to give us what we had come for: A "as genuine as Albany, NY can give you," French experience.
       I ordered a French 75: Champagne, gin, orange liqueur. It was something new to me, but that is what the Internet called for when "Authentic french cocktails," was searched. The bartender mixed it up well, so I would assume, as it was light, refreshing, aromatic, and delicious.  It would work very well as a summer cocktail, or in place of a morning mimosa. DJ ordered his cosmopolitan. He stresses his garnishes often and was a bit miffed that his orange cosmo was served with a lime this time, but none-the-less, "Very yummy. Aftertaste especially." It was strong but I have to believe him when he says it was tasty because I did not even get the chance to see his typical, scrunched up nose face when he sips on any alcoholic drink.
       We ordered the escargot for an appetizer for 3 reasons: 1- It is a known French dish, 2- it was recommended via the virtual world, and 3- personally, I really wanted to compare it to an escargot dish we had a previous restaurant, (which will be reviewed at a later date when we refresh our memory of D.P.'s.). The dish was extremely flavorful with the garlic and pesto that stood out, which was delicious at first, however, even after brushing my teeth, snail breath was horrible even hours later. The dish gave two very distinct textures. The snail itself was not chewy and it had a consistency somewhere between clams and salmon. There was a deep-fried crunch topping of sorts, that balanced out the texture of the snail. Seemed traditional, light and a refreshing taste.
      The dinner menu offered an array of meats, however, due to having only one option for each, it was a bit sparse. The menu was readable and fits simple, elegant tastes.  In some fine dining, the portions do not seem to fit the cost, however, the taste makes up for it: This was not the case for Provence, as it lacked the taste. The duck was thick, tough, and offered only one texture, verses where other duck I have had was both crispy and meaty for example, this was not. The cherries did compliment the taste well, as the rest of the dish was a job to eat, as it was not particularly "yummy." The  scallops were cooked perfectly with a slender crunch on top, soft and buttery throughout. The sauce however was bland and did nothing for the dish itself.
      As the night rolled in, so did the customers. The crowd was of a mature nature, mainly men and women in their 40s to their 70s. The attire I call "casual money," as cardigans and khakis seemed to be the normal attire, but the more expensive brands.  The jazz music was soft and fun at the same time, and  gave way to the crowd becoming a little rowdy, or maybe they all were sipping on their French 75s and cosmopolitans as well.
Appetizers: B-/ B
Drink: A-/ A-
Main Course: C / B
Atmosphere: B+ / A
Service: A/ A
Price: $25 +/- Not enough bang for your buck/ Good quality, not quantity 
Overall Experience: B- / B+ 

Canard Aux Cerises (duck breast with brandied tart cherries)
Coquille Saint Jacques (diver scallops) 
Lower level (where the jazz music plays)

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