It seems like anglosaxon food is all the rage here in Lille. In the past 2 years, there are two new hamburger places in Vieux Lille, not to mention all the places serving hamburgers in general these days, a diner franchise and a 60's restaurant which are all full to the hilt at any meal time. Add to that the English pastry shop/tearoom that just opened next to my favorite Chinese place in Lille...but that place is actually run by an real English woman which makes it yummy and authentic albeit expensive.
But none of them is Park West.
A couple weeks ago, I went to one of the hamburger joints that everyone has been raving about for the past year. I got a "chti" because what could not be right with a maroilles covered burger? The hamburger joint in question tauts itself as being the fruit of the marriage between an American bartender and a French restarateur so what could go wrong?
With the burger explosion in France over the past coupld years, I've learned one lesson: sog. Even if the meat is right and the toppings are good, the bread is mushy soggy and gross. So, I ordered my burger sans sauce s'il vous plait. "Ce n'est pas possible Madame." So I asked, how it could not be possible to NOT put sauce on my bread. As I insisted that I really didn't want sauce, I understood the words the waiter was telling me, but I just didn't understand the concept of pre-sauced buns. My coworkers finally had to explain to me that they prepare their buns ahead of time and then put them in the oven to toast them, "sauce hamburger" and all. WHAT??? It reminded me of a sandwich expericene in Paris years ago when I asked for a sandwich sans mayonnaise and the salesperson told me, "c'est pas possible". Which brings me to my point : the main difference between French and American food: impossible versus anything is possible.
So a word of warning to all Americans craving a hamburger in France : watch out for the sauce. And if you want a good burger, don't put your faith in a someone who uses the word impossible.
Related posts : Doing Hamburgers Right