Le Paradis - first ever disappointment at this place
I would consider myself a regular at Le Paradis, arguably my favorite restaurant in Toronto. And, I have never been as disappointed as tonight. Feeling confident about the trusty good food at Le Paradis, I raved about the place to a couple of my friends who had never been there. So, the three of us went and, boy was it a downer!
We ordered a green salad, the soup of the day (mushroom) and aragula salad. After the orders were taken and the salads arrived, my friend was told that the soup would take about 20 minutes to prepare. He was "encouraged" to have a salad instead, which he did. Not a good start!
My green salad was pretty average. Greens were reasonably young, tomatoes flavourless but ok. Light dressing, as usual (good). I am used to more flavourful and inspiring green salads at Le Paradis, so I was thinking to myself that it was a bit lame tonight (not enough to complain though, just a thought). Then, my choucroute arrived! Instead of a duck confit, I had a piece of boiled duck leg in my dish. There was no flavour to the food, none of the regular spices, just a pile of cabbage with some meats thrown into it. Took a few bites, thinking to myself that this could not be happening at Le Paradis. Eventually, I told the waitress that I was truly disappointed with the dish. She very quickly offered to take it away and replace it with something else of my choosing. I asked her what she would recommend and she said "the rabbit stew." Amazingly, it arrived within a few minutes. It was a bit better, more flavourful although the white sections of the meat were dry. A great veggie-based sauce made the dish quite pleasant. My friends were a bit more lucky (or less picky). One had the lamb shank and she enjoyed every bite of it. The other friend has the braised chicken and he too was very happy.
Finally, the sorbets were a good reminder of the Le Paradis I know of. Creme caramel and Balthazar were had by my friends, who could not stop cheering the food.
I really hope that this is an isolated case and it will never repeat again. I love to see this great place full of patrons, who appreciate what Le Paradis does for food lovers. I am willing (and hoping) to forget tonight and get back to the great food Le Paradis serves at an exceptional price.
I have been going to Le Paradis ever since I was in a high chair. I used to hate it as a kid. Now my partner and I go there for romantic dates. I think that there is such a fast turnover of tables the chefs are rushed. Their good chefs...but truly rushed. That's why I think it can be bland and sloppy some times. Has anyone noticed they have not raised their prices but cut veggies out of all entrees. Not complaining because they where a bonus at the prices they charge. Shucks. Now if you want veggies, they charge you $3 dollars extra. Hmmmm. Gotta make money some how on steak priced that cheap and to retain the quality. Their Tartes are HEAVAN. Always. I agreee with the service. Most of them are old pro's and are in it for the big ballers who go for expensive bottles. I often get better service when I go with my parents because they spend more, get wine and desert and the works and we noticably get treated better. If you go in like I do with my girlfriend after work and just get steak frites with a glass of tap water, you get treated like a fly on the wall. Somewhat irritating but I totally get it.
That's odd, I was there early sat nite for dinner and it was a pretty good meal/experience.
We got to have the soup which was flavourful but slightly oily. The Auvergnate (walnut/apple/blue cheese) salad was good, i liked the walnut dressing a lot. The terrine of chicken/duck pate was also quite tasty.
As we did go early, they stated the lamb shank and the beef ribs would not be available for another 45 min.
Of the mains, my veal kidneys were good - hefty, garlic-ky portion. The mahi mahi and mixed seafood, both were again good. I was slightly disappointed in the veal chop which was rather bland.
Had the profiterolles for dessert and they were just made fresh - absolutely heavenly.
The service there is a bit haughty but it's quick and i'm not looking to make friends or have deep meaningful conversations with them.