"Ce Poisson Est Cru."

Smiling Brandon. This is before the food came out.

Smiling Brandon. This is before the food came out.

Not every meal in Paris can be great. And we found that out at L'Alsace.

After a long, hot afternoon at Versailles, we decided to keep the "luxe" feeling going with an evening walk down the Champs-Elysées -- stopping in shops that we had no business being near and buying expensive double-decker macarons from Ladurée. We were getting hungry, and I had a craving for seafood, so we stopped at the busy restaurant L'Alsace. In fact, it was so lively on the terrace that I thought it had to be a good place for dinner. Plus, I saw these beautiful trays of shellfish making their way out to diners. Mesmerizing. And the location was perfect for people watching.

Service was so-so. Comme ci, comme ça. Not as attentive as the other restaurants we had been to during our trip, but I figured that the place was crowded -- and we also weren't dressed as poshly as the people sitting around us. The waiter was friendly enough though, and I ordered from the prix fixe menu. I decided to get the terrine of duck, the haddock with basmati rice (although now I realize I should've abandoned my fish craving and ordered the bratwurst), and the apple tart with ice cream for dessert. I also got a glass of champagne. Brandon ordered the same, except he opted for the summer fruit sorbet for dessert.

Let's say that the terrine of duck was a surprise to Brandon. I don't think he was expecting a pate. The presentation didn't make it any more appetizing either. The flavor was okay. Nothing outstanding. Good thing we had lots of bread.

And then the haddock came out. And it was so bland. And cold. And raw in the middle. (I don't think this was sashimi grade fish.) The rice was complete mush, and I didn't understand the olives. Decoration? I dunno. The tomato on top was the most flavorful part of the entrée, and unfortunately there was only one slice.

Fortunately, the meal ended on a high note. Not too high, but at this point my expectations were pretty low, so it was a nice surprise when the apple tart came out and actually tasted good. Brandon's sorbet was okay, so I thought I'd be nice and share some of the tart with him.

I learned my lesson. Do not judge a restaurant by its energetic crowd and shellfish trays.