The War with Chirac

Guerin's Bistro fights the good fight while anti-French sentiment swirls about Houston and the United States

The best dessert at Guerin's Bistro may be the strawberry crème brûlée. "I've eaten this dessert all over the world, and this one is really exceptional," Savary says with his spoon submerged in the stuff at the end of our lunch. We mop up the custard and order a couple of espressos while we continue the conversation.

"A lot of Americans are accusing the French of forgetting that you liberated us from the Nazis," Savary sighs. "But it is not the same situation. We know how much we owe you. But Saddam was not occupying the White House. You can't compare the two wars. And now that we know there were no weapons of mass destruction, the French position is only stronger. There was no justification for this war."

This certainly isn't the first argument France and the United States have ever had. "We disagreed when Pinochet overthrew Allende in the 1970s," says Savary. "We have had a disagreement. These things happen." And there will be many more tiffs in the future, no doubt. But is it necessary to punish those who don't agree with you?

Joël Savary, cultural attaché to Houston's French 
consulate, says France and the United States are 
much alike.
Troy Fields
Joël Savary, cultural attaché to Houston's French consulate, says France and the United States are much alike.

Location Info


Guerin's Bistro

11920-J Westheimer
Houston, TX 77077

Category: Music Venues

Region: Memorial


Pâté: $5.50
Duck confit: $12.95
Red snapper: $18.95
Pepper-crusted tuna: $18.95
Delas Côtes du Rhône: $20
Louis Latour Macon-Villages : $22
11920 Westheimer; 281-558-5095. Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Egged on by talk show hosts like Bill O'Reilly, Americans are attempting to do just that by boycotting French wines, French cheeses and more. People with too much time on their hands are circulating e-mails with lists of French-owned companies you can penalize. According to one I just received, real patriots won't go see The Hulk or Seabiscuit, since the French own Universal Studios. In fact, they can pretty much forget about movies altogether, since the French also own Technicolor. They also have to throw away their Motown records, Dannon yogurt and Houghton Mifflin books. It also says here that Jerry Springer's TV show, Motel 6 and Allegra allergy medicine are all French products.

The last time I visited Guerin's Bistro was on a Friday night. The cheesy fake bricks on the walls and hokey wooden beams mounted over the acoustic tile ceiling never looked more romantic. A Texas guitarist and a Ukrainian violinist were playing jazz riffs on international classics. And I was delighted to see the place was packed. Guerin looked pleased as he led us to our seats. "It's very rare that the restaurant is this full," he said with a smile. Hopefully, this means Houstonians are coming to their senses.

Forget about politics for a second and think what would happen if this idiotic boycott were really successful. What a great city Houston would be with no French restaurants and no French wines! That would hit France where it hurts, huh? Just like we would be devastated if they stopped renting Jerry Lewis movies.

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