As we enter The Artist, we are greeted by a young waiter who offers us our choice of table in English. Wondering if he’s a foreigner, I try to carry on in Arabic yet the young man keeps his English flowing. My husband intervenes and asks him if he knows any Arabic. He utters a few words (and yes he’s Lebanese!) before jumping right back to English, ignoring our attempts once more. I understand that many restaurant owners think it’s best to speak a foreign language, but why not add “Arabic” to the plan if the client wishes so? Especially in a restaurant that’s a stone’s throw away from USJ, a French university… I can’t imagine waiters speaking French next to AUB!
The Artist offers a set menu: the “surprise set menu”. There is no real surprise but I think they just like naming it this way. We begin with homemade soup scooped into small bowls, quite good actually, followed by an extremely tasty salad with fusion sauce and a reasonably-sized beef steak served with delicious potatoes. But too few, much too few… As for the wine, we only had the choice of a Chilean red. I still think being in Lebanon we should have the choice between any wine they wish to circulate and some good low budget Lebanese wine!
The owner, very “hands on”, serves us dessert. Being a fan of sweets, I gulp down my cheesecake topped with fruits and sample the Tiramisu from a friend’s plate. No surprise, nothing original – an average plain Tiramisu. I wonder why we still don’t have a “café gourmand” where you get a selection of mini sweets, along with your coffee. Less guilt trips for extra weight!
Well, I don’t have much to say about the bill; you come out with $45 a piece, which is what you get anywhere on a decent night out. The owner and our English-speaking waiter bid us farewell at the door of The Artist – decorated in a rather simple fashion- and just right for a Monday evening… or for younger clients!