Tonight, the Critic and I found ourselves in the car on the way home and hungry near dinner time. We talked over our options and in the end decided to go to a Tex-Mex restaurant not far from our apartment in the 17th arrondisement, El Rancho. We had been there once before and the Critic loved his meal and I thought mine disappointing. However it had been over a year and my memory was fuzzy on why I was dissatisfied so I agreed to give it another try.
Looking over the menu tonight I remembered why I disliked it. To me, everything on the menu was (to paraphrase the late Douglas Adams) almost, but not quite entirely, unlike Tex-Mex food. I hotly contested the label of being a food snob tonight. But I have never seen blue cheese on a tostada. Or tortillas made of spinach. Or nachos in the main dish section of a menu. And a blue Margarita is wrong, just wrong.
The Critic said it was "fusion". I didn't ask what on earth the cook had "fused" this Tex-Mex inspired food with. The thing is, it's not a high-class pretentious restaurant. I don't believe the chef intentionally strayed from the usual ingredients: he just didn't know what he was doing. My personal belief is that it's just a bad attempt on the part of a French owner to lure in homesick Americans and mildly adventuresome French diners.
That said, I have to admit that I envy the Critic his open-mindedness. The broccoli in the fajitas put me off them forever, but the Critic was actually very happy with his blue-cheese-and-tomato tostada and his fajitas-with-every-vegetable-in-the-market while I grumbled over a mediocre hamburger.
Closed-mindedness (some would say bloody-mindedness) has its price...
If you really want to go there and decide whether it's Fusion or Wrong, here is the address:
74 r Jouffroy d'Abbans
01 42 27 09 0