Le M. What to say, what to say about Le M. This has been a tough post to write, given the popularity of the restaurant and the burger. I can see why, to some extent: it is centrally located, the decor is trendy-yet-cozy, and it’s buzzing energy level is a perfect pick-me-up to the weekend.
Still, I expect readers of this blog to be good quality food appreciators, and not (just) scenesters. So, here it is, the raw story:
Our party arrived at the restaurant on time for our reservation, Thursday night, 21h30, after a nice long apéro at l’Apothicaire (incidentally, their cocktails are truly the best medicine). Right off the bat, the host/bar tender/ waiter see us, avoid eye contact, bustle along busily, and try to pretend we’re not there. Eventually, someone acknowledges us, and tries to put on a friendly, humorous face as he explains that our table won’t be ready for awhile still.
GREAT! That’s just my favorite thing, arriving tipsy and starving at a restaurant just to be left to languish in the corridor, drooling over the food on the surrounding tables.
We finally take our seats, after being pushed around for 20 minutes in the narrow passage way between the bar and the tables. Our next challenge? Getting menus (because yes, menus are usually helpful, even in a burger joint). When THAT finally took place, we had a nice long long long while to decide what we wanted. Meanwhile at least three waiters were flailing their arms about giving air kisses to their ritzy friends seated left and right of us. We tried to order wine, and when it finally came, we were halfway through with our meal and it was warm. Bref, I think you are getting the picture here: the service is TERRIBLE.
Eventually, our waitress accidentally came to see if we were ready to order, at which point she announced that they were OUT OF FRENCH FRIES. Which is just. I just. I mean. No words. Instant disqualification. Is it even worth staying at that point? Needless to say, we did stick it out, so here is the low down on the rest:
The starters: At the outset, I was very happy with the starters menu, and thankfully on this we were not disappointed. You cannot go wrong with a lump of goat cheese in a crisp phyllo pastry shell with a drizzle of honey on top, and a poelee of chanterelles fried in butter, garlic and tossed with parsley. The tuna tartare was also fresh and well prepared.
The burger: The greatest appeal of this place is the burger menu, which offers you the most extensive choice of toppings that I have seen in any European burger restaurant. From caramelized onions to foie gras, with a little creativity you can create a veritable chef d’oeuvre.
Except, any cook will tell you that if the basic ingredients are not in perfect condition, it hardly matters what bells and whistles you put on them. In this case, the bun was dry, and fell apart like castles made of sand the moment you tried to lift the burger. And the patty itself, while nice in shape and size, was cooked to death and dry. Turns out, the foie gras will cancel out that problem, if you order it. But I ordered a simple cheese and bacon burger, and that level of fat was not enough to counter the dryness of the bun/patty combo.
The fries: oh wait, there WERE NONE. They claimed they have truffle fries as well, but I will believe it when I see it.
The dessert: we ordered a tiramisu and a fondant au chocolat, both of which were definitely good enough to eat, but not so spectacular that they were memorable.
The green factor: needless to say, the waitstaff was so absent/busy kissing their fabulous friends that it was impossible to ask them about anything on the menu. Between you and me, I kind of get the impression they wouldn’t much care about the green factor anyway.
Price/Quality: Maybe it was the wine, but I feel like we ended up paying a MUCH heftier price for this burger that is nowhere near the top three in town. Then again, you do get toppings like foie gras and sides like truffle fries. You be the judge.
In sum: a good starters menu and a make-your-own burger menu with pretty impressive ingredients are good reasons for the popularity of this restaurant. Maybe try asking for them not to cook the burger so long? And keep in mind, the restaurant is highly stylized: lots of energy of the fur-vest, air kisses, catch-you-in-Megeve-on-Sunday kind. If that’s your style, you will love this place, and you too will probably end up getting a kiss from the staff.
Stay fabulous now! Mwah, mwah mwah!