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Old 12-21-2011   #1 (permalink)
beachaholic
 
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My Byblos experience

I have delayed writing this post because I generally do not like to intentionally deprecate any restaurant..........unless it is really necessary. I know how hard it is to open and run one, and it is necessary to give some slack in assessing the merits. Byblos has been around for a long time and seems to have some fans. I never went there before now, because I really do not come to Playa for French food. However, I am a francophile, and have had my best times in Paris and France, so on my recent trip to Playa with my family, we decided to do something different for Thanksgiving: go to a French restaurant, and Byblos was on my list of places to try.

The 5 of us went for a 7:30 reservation, and the place was lovely, as usual. Unfortunately, the meals that we were served was the worst of any restaurant I have eaten at in Playa, and was certainly the worst French food I have ever had set before me. Out of 4 appetizers and 5 main courses, only 2 were decent. The rest were basically inedible. When Sylvie, the owner, noticed that we were finished, but that all of the plates were mostly uneaten, she asked if anything was wrong and I told her. Her response was simply "I am sorry.", and she walked away.

This restaurant has some obvious flaws. Most importantly, no one in the kitchen has ever eaten French food, and they do not know what it is supposed to taste like. Following a recipe can often get a passable dish, but that is not what a restaurant is supposed to do. It was clear that the kitchen was not able to get first class ingredients for some dishes, but instead of taking them off the menu, they were content to serve unpalatable food, hoping that the customer would know less than they do.

It is clear to me that the owner does not spend any time in the kitchen any more, and it is also clear that she is now simply running a business and has lost her passion for the food.

There comes a time when a restaurant has passed its time and needs to be reinvented, or closed and be reborn by new energy. This seems to be one of those situations.

It is possible that I went there on a terrible day and that all of the kitchen help quit...........but I sincerely doubt it. Until I hear better reports from people who know good food and especially good French food, I have to warn my readers to stay away. The prices are very high, the quality low and the service perfunctory at best.

This is the worst review I have ever written for a restaurant, but after throwing away $2,000 Pesos on a terrible meal, I feel that it needs to be written.
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Old 12-21-2011   #2 (permalink)
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Why would you expect a quality French meal in MX? I think you are going above what you try to do! IMHO
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Old 12-21-2011   #3 (permalink)
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If I paid 2000 pesos for a meal I would expect good food.
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Old 12-21-2011   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnie View Post
Why would you expect a quality French meal in MX? I think you are going above what you try to do! IMHO
If you paid $200 for a meal at a French restaurant in the States, would you expect a quality French meal?
I have no idea what you are saying.
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Old 12-21-2011   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnie View Post
Why would you expect a quality French meal in MX? I think you are going above what you try to do! IMHO
I have to agree with Babs on this one. I think you can still expect a quality meal of a different cultural origin than the country you are in.
I have had some fantastic Italian and Thai food in Mexico, Canada,and the States.
I have had some very high quality Mexican dining experiences in Canada and the States.
Maybe it is or is not as authentic, but can still be of high quality and standards. If not an attempt to make it right somehow still goes a long way.
I guess my point is I do not believe just because the OP visited a French
restaurant in Playa that it need be sub standard.
Just my opinion.
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Old 12-21-2011   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks. I always wondered if I should try it and always figured it was going to be the way you describe, particularly given that the price of their lunches is about the same as the price of a Grand Cafe Creme in a Parisian Cafe.

There are no real issues in producing very good French bistro cuisine in PDC, but you need to work hard and you need to charge sufficiently high prices (which you can't), rely on stable trade (which you can't), and as you say - you need to at least have eaten French food to know what it's supposed to be like or alternatively you need to be a good enough chef to be able to do a good job from books/internet.
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Old 12-21-2011   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canadiense loco View Post
I have to agree with Babs on this one. I think you can still expect a quality meal of a different cultural origin than the country you are in.
I have had some fantastic Italian and Thai food in Mexico, Canada,and the States.
I have had some very high quality Mexican dining experiences in Canada and the States.
Maybe it is or is not as authentic, but can still be of high quality and standards. If not an attempt to make it right somehow still goes a long way.
I guess my point is I do not believe just because the OP visited a French
restaurant in Playa that it need be sub standard.
Just my opinion.
One of the best Chinese restaurants I've ever eaten in was in Tijuana. People would drive across the border from San Diego to eat there.
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Old 12-21-2011   #8 (permalink)
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If I paid 2000 pesos for a meal I would expect good food.
I agree.
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Old 12-21-2011   #9 (permalink)
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Y'all must like your food a lot .. $40 a head ..
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Old 12-21-2011   #10 (permalink)
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One of the best Chinese restaurants I've ever eaten in was in Tijuana. People would drive across the border from San Diego to eat there.
Thanks man, I knew I should have tried it!!!
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Old 12-21-2011   #11 (permalink)
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We didn't care for Byblos but many people enjoy the food.
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Old 12-21-2011   #12 (permalink)
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Went there twice late Nov/early Dec., we both enjoyed our lunches.
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Old 12-21-2011   #13 (permalink)
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We ate lunch there once in 2010. My soup (lentil and other stuff) was a bit salty, but the fish was good as was the glass of wine.

The price was very good also.

That is my only experience there.
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Old 12-21-2011   #14 (permalink)
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Y'all must like your food a lot .. $40 a head ..
$40 for a nice meal is a good price. (Granted it's only on special occasions) Ever eat at a Ruth's Chris or Mortons? It's a hundred bucks to walk through the door. I think that's the point he is making. If you expect to pay for a high end meal, you expect a high end meal.
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Old 12-21-2011   #15 (permalink)
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Why would you expect a quality French meal in MX? I think you are going above what you try to do! IMHO
This is a little weak considering the origin of classic french cuisine, plus french food can be excellent fare 5 star or rustic.

Clearly they have the technology to pull it off in playa
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