Le Baratin is a small 2 rooms packed with wood and marble tables. There are 2 seatings, at 7:30 and 9:30 and they do turn the tables so don’t be late or take too long ordering. Service is brisk. We were lucky to have 2 grinders on the table as some tables had salt bowls – although the food didn’t really need further seasoning. It’s not a bad place but it’s also not great – kind of like the service is not unfriendly but not overly friendly or fun. The chef is a Argentinian woman who turns out an amazing amount of food for the size of the kitchen. Her partner/owner works the front bar and mostly looks like he wishes he wasn’t there. It is a very casual place and there seemed to be a lot of regular customers there.
We started with a vegetable tart filled with a sweet mix of vegetables. The pastry was flakey and delicious and the side salad was a nice addition. A good choice.
We tried the calamari supposedly seasoned with pepper but I could detect no spiciness. It was two large body pieces stuffed with tentacles – a good sized portion. The squid had a lot of chew and was way mild. It was all right but nothing to order again. The tables were set with bread but it was so dry it was inedible, like it had been cut hours ago.
The main plates had similar vegetables – potatoes, fennel, carrots and chard stalks. It was nice to find a place that isn’t afraid to serve vegetables with the main dish. The beef cheeks were rich and tender with almost a burnt exterior. They were quite gelatinous but the finish on the meat was dry. The fish was dry and dull with lots of bones. The vegetables were the best part of both main plates.
For dessert we had the chocolate almond cake which was great. It was like a chocolate flan but gooey and chewy with a topping of sweetened chestnuts. It was delicious and left me feeling a bit better about the meal.