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Le Pressoir? Bugs Galore

Location: Le Pressoir, Grand Case, St. Martin

Food Rating:

Experience Rating:

Following our new plan of working our way systematically down Boulevard Grand Case, tonight we went to Le Pressoir for dinner. It's a Thursday night, and we didn't have reservations, so we headed there at the blue-haired hour of 6pm in the hopes that we'd be able to slip through and get a table.

Well, we did get a table... but they said all they had was outside on the front balcony. In general, I have no issues with eating outside, and in fact am a huge proponent. It wasn't too hot tonight, and there was a slight breeze, so it sounded like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately, it was not.

About 10 minutes after sitting down, the sun went down, and the bugs came out. We've become all too familiar, in fact biblically familiar, with the tropical mosquitoes (as a result, forget perfume, the universal scent of St. Martin is "Off" - you spray it on like body armor, don't leave home without it). But these were a genre of bug we haven't encountered before - like flying ants, but far more insidious. And they came out in droves. Initially there was a lamp on our table, which thankfully the waitress turned off when the first horde arrived - on our butter, in our wine, around our water bottle. But then we realized we were sitting next to the fluorescent lights on the outside of the balcony that never get turned off.

When the hostess asked us how our evening was going, and we said the food was lovely but the bugs were unfortunate, she replied "yes, I know, the first hour after sunset is a problem..." and shrugged and walked away. Even though there were many, many empty tables inside the restaurant, and they were empty well into the evening.

The food was good, but not quite worth the money. We ordered a bottle of Sancerre - and in fact it turned out it was the same Sancerre we had the other night at Hibiscus, but for 48 Euros instead of 36 Euros. The bottle was not 33% larger.

I ordered the "House Speciality," which was an assortment of grilled shellfish for the first course, and grilled fish for the second course. The first course was delicious. The grilled lobster, shrimp, "flathead" lobster (which I've never heard of, but is apparently a specialty of Gaudelope) and Scallops were perfectly cooked, and when dipped in the lemon beurre sauce, were delectable. The fish, however, was bland and only so-so. There were four kinds, each on a bed of whipped something-or-other (smoked mashed potatoes, smoked purple mashed potatoes, ginger mashed potatoes), and nothing was really that memorable. It wasn't bad, just not worth the price of the ticket.

Steve had the Lobster bisque, which he described as "As Expected." The scallops with duck were delicious if you like a citron butter sauce. In his world, the smoked mashed potatoes were a highlight.

We skipped dessert given the hordes of bugs that continued to swarm us, despite being well past sunset, and headed home for a glass of port Chez Nous at the L'Esplanade. I'm going on a dive tomorrow morning, so no nightcap at Calmos Cafe...


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