This Bastille Day we visited a place that we had not been to in 6 years: Chez Max. Chez Max has that old school Americanized version of a French country inn. Dark paneling, country lace curtains, white linens, bistro-style chairs. Quaint and cozy.
We were warmly welcomed and we received attentive service.
[Just an aside on service. Actual French service is kick ass. The wait staff may seem aloof because they are not interested in your life or activities, particularly tourist activities; but their attention to detail and timing is impeccable. The silverware is replaced after every course; the wine is always poured before your glass is empty; the main course is never served before the first course has been finished and dessert is never considered until the rest of the meal is done. The pace is never hurried and we have time to discuss, consider, and appreciate the meal. We also experienced this type of service, for the most part, in the province of Quebec from the local pizza joint to the fancier places. I know that pay scales differ here and staffing constraints may be a challenge as well. I know it's a tough job; but after experiencing consistently great service, which is the normal expectation in France, I always make comparisons. I do appreciate the personable touch from a lot of the wait staff here in the Richmond area. If they could combine that quality with French-style attention to detail, the outcome would be the fantastic. Thank you for putting up with my rant.]
Now back to our Bastille Day celebration. Of course we needed to select a French wine, although Chez Max also has selections from other parts of the wine-producing world. We decided upon a 2009 Chateau Haut-Surget from Lalande-de-Pomerol. Hearty, yet smooth going down. A very pleasant combination and able to pair well with a variety of dishes.