Maintenon is a small town just north of Chartres where there is a Renaissance-era château of the same name. Mon ami de longue date (not to say "old" friend) CHM and I had lunch in the town last Saturday. The restaurant we chose had an exceptionally long menu with a lot of choices for the first, second, and dessert courses, as you'll see below.
The day before, we had enjoyed a good lunch in Paris at the place now called Le Grand Bistro (ex-Bistrot de Breteuil) and we thought that the Caméléon in Maintenon served a lunch that was at least as good for half the price. At the Grand Bistro, the atmosphere was slightly upscale for a weekday lunch, but our waiter was efficient and easy-going. The clientele was older and people were more dressed up. It was pleasant.
At the Grand Bistro, the price was 44 euros per person, which included a bottle of wine for two people. At the Caméléon, our bill came to 48 euros, everything included.
In the small town restaurant, the atmosphere was much more populaire and "down-home." There was a crowd of regulars, and boisterousness rather than decorum was the word of the day. Many of the customers were younger and less well-dressed. It was noisy. I thought it was fun.
My photos don't do the food justice (the light conditions were less than ideal), and the food certainly wasn't fancy. However, it all seemed fresh and freshly prepared. The seasoning was near-perfect, though I did add a little salt to the salad. We were at the table for nearly two hours, though there was no long wait at any time.
« Salade de Saumon frais et crevettes » with a nice fresh-tasting vinaigrette dressing
With lunch we had a half-liter pitcher of rosé wine. It was a dry rosé that went well with the steak I ordered and with the seafood dish that CHM had, and also with the fresh salmon and shrimp salad that we had as a first course.
The « Bavette d'aloyau » (flank steak) with its peppersteak sauce was tender and tasty.
The little serving of zucchini, tomato, and green beans was garlicky and crunchy.
I didn't take any pictures of the desserts. I had a slice of lemon meringue pie and CHM had the house "crumbble" of apples with cinnamon.
The « Marmite du pêcheur gratinée façon dieppoise » was fish and shellfish (saumon, moules, calamars,
pétoncles, gambas — that's salmon, mussels, squid, scallops, and prawns) with
a creamy rice base and and au gratin topping.
Yesterday we had lunch in a restaurant in a village very not far from Saint-Aignan that was also really good. More about that over the next few days.