Last updateFri, 05 Feb 2016 2pm

Restaurant charm and amicability, ingredients that linger long after a meal

At Yves’s restaurant, Saturday night, my partner and I had a splendid experience from seating to our final chat with the restaurateur, Yves, himself.

He’s a man of natural charm who enjoys engaging his guests. Ask him about his story of Martini, the young, pure-white donkey. 

The restaurant, at the west end of Ajijic, south side, in the small off-Carretera lateral by the Dental Express, provides plenty of parking and, above all, offers a delightfully homey atmosphere, with options of a cozy indoor setting or a back-garden al fresco – in either case offering intimate tables. 

The menu is a well-rounded mix of favorites: fajitas with seafood, chicken or beef, fettuccine with seafood, casual dishes like burgers and a compelling selection of poultry dishes. But it is the Sonora beef selections that highlight the menu: filet mignon, rib eye, porterhouse and arrachera. And for veganesque diners, most entrees come with a bottomless salad bar of fresh veggies, some tofu and chopped fruit.  

But a restaurant you return to over and over is more than a triumph of food. You want the experience to begin with a sense of genuine welcome, something akin to visiting the long lost nanny who raised you. Yves has assembled a glad-to-be-of-service staff, acting as a receiving line as you are ushered to your table. And often, Yves, himself, will be among them.

Our table service was vigilant and timely and Raul, our waiter, made our seating and visit feel sincerely appreciated. After several weeks of my own vegan-driven abstinences, the filet mignon on the menu lit up like a Vegas casino, making decisions simple. Our orders appeared 15 minutes later. The fillet presentation was modest and unpretentious, but dashing enough as steak dishes go. It was perfectly “medium,” (as requested) with a dark-grilled crust that held every milliliter of meaty juice inside. I poured over it a rich slathering of brandy-mushroom sauce from a small al lado pitcher. And knife and fork were soon at work. Sides were standard fare, au gratin potato and a serving of carrots and broccoli.  

My partner had shrimp fajitas over rice and the table fragrance was robust with a surf and turf sensation. Both dishes paired well with the house merlot. Once served and asked if all is satisfactory, I, for one, want no staff interruptions, unless of course somebody wanted me to sing. There were no interruptions.

Yves is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, except Wednesday. Menu prices are on the upper-reasonable end, but truly, given the superb experience, one doesn’t really notice. My only real regret was that the beautiful fireplace inside did not offer a real fire, but an ungainly electric heater.

When Yves makes his claim of “good food” and professional and friendly service, he is being remarkably modest. I found everything about this dinner to be better than “good” and the service fit for a Downton Abbey soiree.

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