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Le Paradou - what's the deal?

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Hi. I recently went to Le Paradou for my husband's 30th birthday. We did the 6 course tasting menu plus wine pairing and it was great! It wound up being more like 9 dishes with 2 amuses bouches and petit fours at the end of the night.

All of the dishes were terrific, with the exception of the john dory filet which i thought was kinda overcooked. The wine pairing was equally good, especially the white burgandy paired with the fish. The wine pairing was $60 each which I thought was a good deal considering the bottle prices on their wine list.

The tasting menu was $110 per person. I felt for the quality of food and wine, and the excellent service, the prices were reasonable and very comparable to that type of dining experience in any large city. Which brings me to my question...

What's the deal? We were there on a Friday night and the place was half empty! The hostess immediately guessed my name when I said I had a reservation which made me think I was the only person to have bothered making a reservation! It was even Bastille Day when we went which you might suppose would inspire a few extra folks to eat French.

I'm really at a loss as to why the restaurant was so empty. I had a great time!

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  1. 1) Your experience does not mirror everyone elses. And at that price point, most diners won't forgive very many misses.
    2) It's July in Washington. My guess is you could walk into any expense-account restaurant on a Friday night and find half the tables empty. In fact, it's not uncommon for those restaurants to close for a week or two in August.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pappy

      I think what Pappy is saying is that while Cam has definitely shown flashes of greatness in this and past ventures (Le Pavillion in the 80s, Provence, Coco Loco, Le Relais in the 90s), there seems to be a wild streak of inconsistency as well. It's a tough price point to be at when you're not sure which Cam will appear in the kitchen that night. Also, the occasionally cold service, and the outrageously overpriced and high-end-only wine list.

      I would love to hear that his inspiring cooking is resident every night at Le Paradou.

    2. flygirl- I totally agree with you. I've been once (about a year ago) and I thought it was one of the best dining experiences I've had in the DC area... and I've been to all of the top restaurants (Maestro, 2941, CityZen, Citronelle, 1789, etc.). I think Le Paradou ranks up there with all of those restaurants, with maybe the only exceptions being Maestro and CityZen.

      I hope they stay in business, because they deserve to! Maybe it's too fancy a restaurant for that area?

      1. I agree as well. Went for lunch yesterday and had a terrific meal. The lobster purses and trio of creme brulees were especially good. But I was there from 12:15 to 2 pm, and besides my table, there were two other two-tops occupied in the whole place! Makes me wonder how they stay open and how they keep those expensive ingredients on hand with so few customers. Yes it was expensive, but at lunch nothing compared to dinner and not out-of-whack with the quality of the food.

        1. I had lunch there in the middle of Springtime, and the place was deserted. I mean truly deserted. My table was the only one occupied. In my opinion of what I ordered, deservedly so.