On a recent Sunday evening we pulled up to a packed parking lot at Les Folies Brasserie. Fortunately, there was a valet, and we seemed to be in and seated in no time.
When I made the reservations, they told me it was one of the last spaces available. I was surprised that they were nearly sold out on a Sunday, traditionally a slow night at restaurants.
What I didn’t realize was that we were going on one of their themed nights. Les Folies has many such nights throughout the year. In addition to the usual holidays they have Cabaret night, Oktoberfest, Cassablanca night, Mardi Gras and Hawaiian night. We landed on Oktoberfest, and it was a hoot.
When we walked through the door the first thing we saw was a server wearing a barmaid costume with a gaudy blonde wig. The scene was comical. There were bussers in lederhosen, beer hall decorations and an oompah band playing in the middle of the restaurant. The place was raucous and completely full and we were immediately sat right in the middle of the revelry.
The restaurant itself is nicely laid out, with brass railings and beautiful French art nouveau prints. The kitchen sits in the middle of the main seating area, and looks like a little brasserie storefront. The place is adorable.
First up was Les Crevettes a l’Antiboise ($12.50). This was shrimp sautéed with Mediterranean crushed tomato sauce. Although the shrimp were a little firm, the dish was fresh and delicious.
We also chose Le Foie Gras Frais Saute’ aux Pommes et Son Jus ($24). This was a mountain of nicely seared foie gras over caramelized apples. Foie is one of my favorite foods, and this was about perfect for me. To top it off, the dish comes served with a glass of Sauternes, which balanced the foie excellently. I was in heaven.
Soon after our starters were cleared there was a sudden banging and clanging in the dining room. The chef owner, Alon, and the clarinet player had formed a small parade. Alon was banging two pot lids together while skipping through the restaurant. It made us all laugh out loud.
We were all happy, and probably should have stopped there and gone straight to dessert. Instead, we ordered our mains.
Louise chose the Wiener schnitzel ($28.50) off of the Oktoberfest menu. This was tender breaded veal in a flavorful lemon butter sauce with large pieces of carrot and a nice layered potato.
Chandra had Le Coq au Vin ($26), which was a large portion of braised chicken in a rich red wine sauce that looked like a dark gravy. The flavors were divine, with bits of bacon and mushroom all throughout.
I chose Le Carre d’Agneau roti aux herbes ($35), which was roasted rack of lamb with a rosemary crust, soft potatoes au gratin and al dente green snow peas and chunks of carrot. The lamb was tender and perfectly cooked, and we all liked the rosemary overtones.
Stuffed and content, we pressed on with dessert. Unfortunately, the quality of the desserts didn’t exactly match the rest of the meal.
The crème brûlée ($8.50) was lacking flavor and the sugar topping was soft, as if it had been in the refrigerator rather than freshly caramelized. The profiteroles ($8.50) were soft and drowned in bitter sweet chocolate sauce (they really needed some texture). The third dessert, the Tarte Tatin ($9.50) was pretty good. This was a slice of “pie” with caramelized apples served with ice cream. Tarte Tatin is not usually served in a wedge, but this was nicely done and we all enjoyed it.
We had an excellent meal at Les Folies Brasserie. The entertainment was brash but enjoyable, and the food was delicious. One thing that I didn’t like was the $8 per person cover charge for the themed evening. This was not something that was mentioned when I called in for the reservation, and it seemed unnecessary. In any case, I will certainly be dining again at Les Folies soon. Next time, however, I will probably skip the theme and instead get an extra glass of wine.
Les Folies Brasserie
WHERE: 2552 Riva Road, Annapolis
HOURS: Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, 5 to 8:45 p.m.
LUNCH: $12 - $19
DINNER: $18 - $38
CREDIT CARDS: All major cards