Brasserie Flo Metz Comes Up Short

We have been to Brasserie Flo in Metz three times.

It is one of those elegant and nostalgia-evoking Art Nouveau restaurants, a dying breed found mostly in France, but occasionally in other European capitals. We love them. Brasserie Flo Metz, as they call it, is a dowager, still alluring, but not as smashingly beautiful as the Excelsior in Nancy, one of a chain including several in Paris.

The first time at Flo Metz, a lunch on February 21, 2003, was excellent, meriting a return when we were next in the area. That turned out to be for dinner on March 20, 2009, on our way from our home in western France to Dresden, Germany.

In 2009, we found service very slow. No one paid any attention to us. Bread was not brought, requested water not brought. The meal was fine, but when we paid, we were shortchanged. I do not remember every detail, but they were not gracious about correcting the error. It left a bad taste, but it is a grand enough place that we decided to try again.

We had another dinner on April 6, 2012, on our way back to France from Nuremberg, Germany. I think we are done with this lovely place which has been ruined for us by an undisciplined staff and problems with bills.

We arrived about 7 p.m. and were seated at the second table from the end along a long and empty banquette. Oddly, it seemed to us, another couple was seated at our immediate left, and yet another at our immediate right within a few minutes, even though the tables in the rest of the long row were still empty.

The staff was more interested in talking to each other than attending to the customers. A captain came to take our order. Besides our drinks, we requested a carafe of water.

After a wait, a waiter brought an order of foie gras mi-cuit, an entree, for my wife. She said she had ordered foie gras poêlé as a main course. A waiter with an English accent politely said he would correct the order and bring the course with my main course order.

Our water had not arrived, and we made another request of a captain. About three minutes later he put it on the table.

Our meals were mostly good. My oysters were fresh and succulent, and the tartare was very well seasoned. My wife’s foie gras was properly pink, but one piece was slightly burned. The grapes, halved, were full of seeds. Four cherry tomatoes seemingly out of place graced the plate along with slices of barely softened apple.  A mixed performance, but not fatal.

We got the bill, paid it, and left.

Later, back at our hotel, I glanced at the check and found we had been billed 12€ for 50cl of Bordeaux blanc.

We had clearly ordered a quart or 25cl of pays d’oc, which I believe was 7€. When we ordered we said “quart” and added “vingt-cinq centiliters” to avoid any possibility of error.

It was, of course, too late to complain.

Was it an error? I am afraid that after our experiences at Brasserie Flo Metz, I was uncomfortable and will not return.

Two meals ending with unpleasant feelings are quite enough.

 * * *

Brasserie Flo Metz, 2 bis rue Gambetta, Metz, 57000, France. Phone: 03 87 55 94 95

© 2012 Peter & Jean Richards

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About oldmainetravelers

The Old Maine Travelers are Peter and Jean Richards, who met more than a half century ago covering President John F. Kennedy on what would become his last trip to Boston.  They worked for many years as wire service and newspaper reporters and editors.  Peter did a nightly television show on WGBH, Boston, before he went into government in the administration of John V. Lindsay, mayor of New York City. After they moved to their brownstone in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, Jean did a spell on Madison Avenue in the real “Mad Men” days and later became public relations officer at Chase Manhattan Bank.  Since 1973 they have worked together first as owners and publishers of a group of award-winning newspapers in Dutchess County, N.Y., and then as antiques dealers.  Now they are old and live on the coast of Maine and in the Southwest of France when not traveling further afield. In the red barn by their house in Damariscotta, Maine, they tend an antique shop specializing in 18th and 19th century furniture, metalwork and accessories, buying objects they know about and like and selling them from May to October to delightful people of obvious discernment and taste. In France, they live in an old stone house in the shadows of the remaining towers of an unfinished 17th century church and above Roman drains in a town along a pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella. They love it — for its authenticity and abundant boulangeries.  The rest of the time they travel the world together seeing the sights, seeking out museums, stumbling into interesting conversations, savoring local specialties and otherwise bumbling along in their own style. For years they have sent article-length postcards to family, friends, fellow travelers and some media. Many of these will now be posted here.
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