After two disappointing meals at Rue de l'Espoir, we're still puzzled: why is this restaurant so popular? The food is overpriced, carelessly done, and the service is amateurish. Our most recent visit started with two bland appetizers: panko-encrusted tuna and portobello mushroom spring rolls. The tuna portion was ridiculously large--it could have been an entree! The tuna was rare but not fresh enough, so it had absolutely no taste. It had a mealy texture, and the crust was soggy and bland. There was no dressing or seasoning except for a few lime slices. The whole thing tasted and looked sloppy. The spring rolls were passable, although the thick and heavy pastry overpowered the filling completely. The taste of mushrooms and asparagus was nowhere to be found. Instead, it tasted like deep-fried dough and sweet-sour sauce (it comes with a fruit dipping sauce). Entrees were even worse. The scallops in the duck duet were simply not fresh enough--they tasted fishy and pungent. In addition, they were overcooked, rubbery, and dry. The duck breast was even worse. Instead of the bloody juiciness of properly cooked, fresh duck breast, this one was mealy, cold, dry, and had a greasy off-taste. Filet mignon with mashed potatoes was mediocre. The meat had a livery taste--again, just not fresh! The pan sauce was clumpy, dull, floury, and oversalted. The potatoes were a gluey mess--tasteless and gummy. Even the beer was stale. Our first visit a few months before had been just average. The food wasn't mind-blowing, but it was decent and edible. This time around, however, it all tasted so bad we left most of it on our plates. At almost 50 dollars per person, this meal wasn't just overpriced--it was painful. We're never coming back to what I now refer to as Rue du Desespoir.
Cons: Overpriced, bad service, dingy ambiance