I've just made a mad dash inside the walls of Saint-Malo, trying to find a restaurant for my party of five and left glassy-eyed. I'm sure some are fine, but most look like they're made to accommodate the hordes that descend on the city in the warmer months.
"Bof!''the nonplussed French would say.
Crestfallen, I meet the gang.
"There was a good-looking place back by the hotel,'' suggests Dad.
The place near the hotel? Are you kidding!?!? I think. I'm the food guy -- I should be able to find something better ... Except I had noticed that place and it's getting late...
"Perfect! Let's go!''
La Brasserie du Sillon, a 10-minute walk down the beach from the center of Saint-Malo is bustling when just about everything else out this way is quiet. The food will be good and after a week of translating menus for my folks and their friends, the service is blessedly, impressively bilingual.
While there are several à la carte options and shellfish platters a gogo, there are good values in the 25 to 40 euro prix fixe menus. My favorite is the whopping raie à la Grenobloise, skate served in brown butter, capers, lemon, and walnuts. Roasted, it makes the tip of the skate wing flip up like Tintin's hair. Mom gets an Italian-themed salad with a great slab of cured ham and the best mozzarella I've had in France.
Good call, Dad.
Food and travel writer and photographer Joe Ray is the 2009 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year and author of the blog Eating The Motherland. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @joe_diner
Photo by Joe Ray for The Boston Globe of Fort National just off of the Plage du Sillon, where the Brasserie is located.