As you may know, I love the French. If some eccentric industrialist suddenly came into the room and asked, "Who here will let me pay for them to become a French citizen?" I would raise my hand so quickly and rigidly into the air that I would need to support my elbow with my other hand, huffing "Ooh! Ooh! Me! Me!" in breathless clipped syllables the way the nerdiest kid in class always did when he knew the answer to a question.
Luc's list of Founding Diners includes august luminaries such as Garfield, Mr. Belvedere, the Weird Tibetan Guy who Pissed on the Bus, and Voltron
Given my zeal for all things French, I was naturally looking forward to eating at Luc. As an added bonus, Luc's owner Thierry Rautureau is ACTUALLY FRENCH! My only problem with Rautureau is his habit of wearing a Panama Hat indoors. Personally, if I were going to choose some sort of head-oriented fashion gimmick, I'd prefer one of those batting helmets that hold beer.
But I don't give a fuck about what anyone at Luc wears. Those motherfuckers could cook the entire menu completely naked for all I care, because the food is tasty.We started with a basket of soufflé potato crisps, which at $7.50 cost a surprising amount for what came to the amount of potato contained in maybe six French fries. The potatoes were thinly sliced lengthwise, then deep fried so that they puffed up into hollow, translucent brown oblongs the color of a greasy brown paper bag. These were okay; they tasted mostly like overcooked French fries and contained a perilous reservoir of scalding oil within themselves, which runs, burning, down your chin when you bite into them.
A pickled mackerel salad ($9.25) was bracingly tangy, with a couple leaves of arugula artfully arranged amongst flaky, soft shards of pickled mackerel, a snowdrift of hard- boiled egg with diced onion, and thin rounds of the FATTEST fucking carrot I have ever seen. Seriously, a REALLY hard-core vegan could use that carrot, unsliced, as a butt plug. The salad was christened in a pool of good olive oil, and was so Mediterranean it could make a Midwestern housewife swoon.
Grilled beef skewers were $8.95 for only FIVE small beef cubes, and for that price they unfortunately didn't appear to come with a complimentary blowjob. The beef, however, was extremely juicy and topped with what I initially mistook to be some sort of bean puree, but was actually a smooth paste of egg yolk.
Trout amandine ($19.50) was so classically French, I expected the fish to try to correct my pronunciation. A whole filleted trout, delicately breaded and fried in beurre noisette, was served sprinkled with crispy slivers of almond and roast potatoes and a couple leaves of wilted spinach. The fish was presented with a spritz of lemon juice and was tender and flaky and it was so delicious, I would rim Death himself if he promised to let me live long enough to eat this again. After all, how bad could rimming the Grim Reaper be? It's probably just like licking a babyback rib bone.
We finished with a perfectly adequate, if a bit grainy, rum raisin rice pudding ($6.25), which was studded with plenty plump blonde sultanas and crowned with a fluffy wad of whipped cream. Fruits jellies cost $3 for three of these house made confections. They were glassine slabs of orange jelly, dusted in chips of granular sugar and with a nebulously tropical flavor. Were they apricot? Passion fruit? Pineapple? Mango? Only Nostradamus knows for sure.
Luc is awesome, but I question the insistent description of this place as being a "cheaper version of Rover's." Yes, it technically might be cheaper, but by that logic you may as well call Luc "a cheaper version of NASA," because it still isn't that cheap. Luckily, price doesn't matter to all of the infinitely wealthy Arab sheikhs who live in the neighborhood. I envy those fuckers so much.
Rating: 8 Industrialists out of 10
Luc is located at 2800 E Madison St., For reservations (FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST GET A RESERVATION ) call, 328-6645