So how's Franco doing without former chef Justin Keimon? Today I decided to find out. After a blood sugar rattling deprivation trip to Mount Pleasant Valley in Augusta (fun because of the good company and the gorgeous view -- their wish to make us buy wine glasses to drink the bottle we bought? tacky) the lack of food available on a weekend? ridiculous), I decided to conclude the hours before Atonement by stopping by Franco for a much needed light supper.
I was a little worried, given Justin's recent departure. But I need not have worried. So far, the Sous Chefi are doing fabulous work without him.
I was in need of a vegetable infusion, since our picnic had consisted of cheeses, salami, braunschwager, a little fruit, and bread (yummy though). So, after consider the Caesar salad and sweet potato bisque (still kind of sad about that one), I ordered the entree of grilled zucchini, lentils, and creamed mushrooms and spinach.
Here's the thing about Franco: I've heard people complain that they weren't "wowed." But Franco isn't were you go for that. Franco is where you go for simple, classic, perfectly seasoned, perfectly prepared bistro food.
My zucchini was, indeed, the perfect temperature, had the perfect bite, was not watery or limp or too crispy; it's natural mildness was totally in evidence, and showing off like an ephemeral girl against the wall at a dance. The lentils were a very familiar stew, just the right form to softness ratio, with diced carrots and onions and a little thyme, . The crimini mushrooms and fresh spinach were just sublime, mild and salty and buttery and bright.
That the entree made me forget the chili and cheese biscuit, with the sweet butter at it's ideal just-preceding room temperature (that's the kind of detail these guys do perfectly) is a telling enough miracle in itself.
If you haven't been to Franco yet, please go. If the guys running the kitchen are still sous-chefs, sooner or later they may be called away, were surely at least one of them deserves a better title and salary.
(I know, I know. Leave me alone. I can break my own self-imposed repressive paradigm if I want to. )