Old-fashioned French cuisine (or "time-honored," depending on how you see these things) got its 15 minutes of fame last month with the release of Julie and Julia, probably the first time anyone under 90 has heard the words "boeuf Bourguignon" and "dinner" in the same sentence.
Except perhaps at L'Anjou in downtown Lake Worth, where for 33 years the Cela family has been dishing the food that made Julia Child famous. Chicken Cordon Bleu, veal francaise, coquilles St. Jacques, duck a l'orange and, yes, boeuf Bourguignon are all staples of this cozy, quiet and manifestly un-hip eatery, where no one of any age has ever heard the words "DJ" and "dinner" in the same sentence. Which just goes to show that hipness is often highly overrated.
Be that as it may, until the end of October L'Anjou is offering one
of the best meal deals anywhere: three courses, plenty of choices,
$15.99, all night, every night. Granted, if you're hungry for fusion,
foams or stir-fried butterfly lips you'll probably be disappointed. But
just because L'Anjou is old-school doesn't mean it's second rate. This
is old-school French cookery with sensitivity and skill, plus generous
portions, nice people and the ability to walk out the door with your
eardrums still intact.
Charlie and Mrs. Charlie took them up
on it a few nights back, starting out with a simple and perfect salad
with tangy Dijon vinaigrette and hearty, coarse-textured duck liver
paté with cornichons and croutons. Coq au vin was an evening's special
but they let us have it for the prix fixe anyway, and it was a tasteful
reminder why some dishes never go out of fashion--pieces of plump,
fork-tender bird smothered in a deeply savory, mahogany-colored wine
sauce reduced to its winey, chickeny essence.
If you want
duck a l'orange you'll have to fork over another nine bucks, but it's
well worth it for half a bird, fully cooked but still tender and juicy,
in a sublime sauce just kissed with orange that says while the French
may be cheese-eating surrender monkeys, their sauces beat the snot out
of any cheese-less dimwit's "freedom fries" and the horse he rode in
on. For dessert we spooned down chocolate mousse, milk chocolate so
very mild but with the texture of sweet, cocoa-dusted silk.
Good stuff. Or as Julia would say, "Bon appetite!"