Monday, April 22, 2013

Chez Alexander

Our town center has a wide variety of restaurants, but if I may be honest, I haven't really been tempted to eat at many of them. Perhaps that may have something to do with bad experiences early on, back in the day when the city was still very young. Very young?? That may sound strange to those who do not live in the Netherlands, so let me explain. Almere is the youngest city in the country. The first inhabitants moved here as pioneers -- way back in 1976. If you want to know more about the city where 'everything is possible' (or so they say here), have a look at the article I wrote for DUTCH back in December of 2012. 
During the last few years, our town center has gone through significant changes. New shops and restaurants have opened and closed, and much to my pleasure, Almere now boasts a few interesting places that offer more than your standard Dutch croquette or tosti for lunch. Last week I told you about the new restaurant, La Maison. This week I want to tell you about Chez Alexander.
Although the restaurant is not new, and despite the fact that it is French oriented (always interesting for a Francophile like me), last Saturday was my first time eating there. After reading some reviews of previous diners, I was a little apprehensive. It was very tempting to just hop on over across the street to La Maison, but hubby convinced me.
When we came in, we weren't immediately noticed, but it didn't take too long though before our very friendly waiter came to our table and asked if we wanted something to drink. We ordered two red wines (M├ętairie du Bois, a velvety blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah) and browsed the lunch menu which included sandwiches, salads, soups, pancakes and standard Dutch uitsmijters or omelettes. I noticed that there were escargots on the dinner menu and luckily, serving them for lunch would not be a problem.

We had the Flaquette Chez Alexander (a hearty sandwich filled with chicken and salad and served with thick-cut fries)...
And the lobster and prawn soup followed by the escargots. The soup was amazing. Perfectly seasoned and richly filled with plump, juicy prawns. I could've easily eaten another bowl! 
The escargots, however, were good, but not really great. First of all, I expected them to be served the traditional way (in their shells, with butter, parsley and garlic). Alas. What I got was a 'cocotte d'escargots' with a little too much mushrooms and not enough butter. I also had a chuckle at the fact that they were served with a tiny escargot fork. I think a small spoon would've done just fine. This is the way I've been served escargots like this in France anyway. I think if they spruced up the flavor of this dish with some garlic, butter and perhaps a bit of cream, it would be wonderful. And no mushrooms. Not for me anyway. 
But I'm not really complaining. The service and the wine were great, the soup was fantastic and there's a lot on the menu that I still want to try. 
After lunch, I love a good Italian cafe con panna (yes, not French!) and the meal was rounded off the meal with a very decandent whipped cream-topped espresso!
All in all, it was definitely worth a try. We look forward to going there for dinner very soon!