Is there anything more daunting then the first time you go to a fancy upscale restaurant and you feel like a neophyte. I remember feeling that way, after hearing all of these great reviews of Restaurant Duglass when I was in college. I felt like a country bumpkin as I was all dressed up and out on a date and the majority of the menu was in French. How could I look suave and debonair when I was confronted with this menu? I was in this beautiful room with calming colors, wonderful floral arrangements and a piano bar; and I was having a panic attack, at least that is what was going through my mind. I could figure out the difference between Soupes Froides and Soupes Chaudes. I could decipher Tournedos, Boeuf, Veau and Agneau, but what do Gibier Impromptu and Filet de Canard mean in English? I had to get up from the table on the excuse of using the facilities, to find someone to translate for me, before the server had to give me French lessons. It was a lesson that I have not forgotten as Gibier Impromptu roughly means Game of the Day, and Canard was duck, or was it duckling.
I remember having Escargot, which I knew. I had a Crustacean Bisque, which to me meant that it was some sort of seafood that was not Lobster, I am not sure now, but it may have been shrimp, prawns or maybe even crawfish. I remember that the menu was divided by the terms Diner Rich and Diner Not So Rich, which I thought then and I still find humorous. I ordered from the Diner Rich side, which if my memory and French are correct was Filet de Canard Roti, which was Roasted Duck Filet. I remember that there was Artichokes with Béarnaise on the menu, but I had never had an artichoke and did not know what to expect, so I ordered broccoli instead. I was so bewildered that I did not even have a dessert, just a cup of coffee afterwards. For the record, the food that I had was excellent, but I just felt like a fish out of water, I think because I just felt so awkward.
Now the wine, was another story, which at least I could understand from the wine carte, so that I wasn’t a total blithering fool, let us say that young men have delicate egos. I had a bottle of Joseph Drouhin Volnay – Clos des Chenes. The vintage alas, I did not record as it was on a neck label and I only have the wine label itself, but I would venture to say it was from the late 1970’s. Volnay is a red Burgundy wine from the Cote de Beaune, and it is considered the most feminine of the red Burgundies, because it is such a smooth wine. The other unique aspect of Volnay is that more than half of all the wines from this Appelation are from Premier Crus; as in Clos de Ducs, Les Caillerets, Les Champans, Les Fremiets, Santenots and Clos des Chenes. Clos des Chenes refers to a past life of the area when there must have been a beautiful grove of oak trees, but they have all been replaced with Pinot Noir vines instead. This may have been one of the first times that I had a duck entrée accompanied by a Pinot Noir, but certainly not the last time. Oui.