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Oct 2, 2007 05:33 PM

French Market Grille review


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    On the advice of my dentist, for a local eatery, we lunched at the French Market Grille this noon.
    We were the first to arrive for lunch at about 15 after 11, so therefore had our choice of seats.
    We opted for the patio. Shady, cool, substantial iron furniture with pillows you can settle into, nice spacing of tables with white covers. I think the patio seats about 40. The inside is also charming and comfortable, tres Euro, a nice bar as you enter, may seat around 55. Sophisticated but not snooty.
    The menu is printed on the back side of replicas of colorful French Posters and for a bistro, pretty varied. A number of salads are listed including Ceasar, Cobb and Nicoise among others. A limited number of choice sandwiches like eggplant/brie and calamari.
    A good listing of entrees with something for everyone. Listed were a vegetarian dish, fish and seafood, chicken, lamb and beef dishes.
    We were immediately relaxed. The tables were spaced perfectly and the noise level was low. Although they are situated in the mall's parking lot, they are alone on the south end and the view from the patio window did not include any other buildings. It was like being transported to another place.
    My guest ordered Chicken Paella with saffron rice and nearly licked the bowl. I had difficulty making up my mind between sea bass, scallops, lamb chops and liver and onions. HaHa, it was Liver and Onions...done medium rare, as ordered, served piping hot, not tepid and with a sufficiency of browned and tender onions. The dish also included a mound of silky mashed potatoes, some julienned and herbed carrots and a nice branch of steamed broccoli. I ate all of the liver and tasted everything else...all were a cut above satisfactory. There was no dessert menu but the 3 items offered were recited by our waiter. My friend opted for creme brulee with framboises and I passed. The other two desserts were chocolate mousse and a lemon tart.
    This lunch was an unexpected pleasure. Service was old world style and very gracious, informed, friendly and unobtrusive...a rarity. The ratio of servers to guests was in our favor and everything appeared to be running like a Swiss clock (no dancing waiters!), the timing was on the dime and I would have been content to sit there until dinner. Our bill for two entrees, 3 non-alcoholic beverages and one dessert with tax and tip was $46. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and have been in the same location for 13 years. I'd love to try them for breakfast. I'm sure this place has been reviewed before but I thought it was worth mentioning once again.

    4 Replies
      1. re: P Macias

        thanks for the review! my husband and i have driven by before in our quest to find decent places to eat in Poway/RB/Penasquitos etc. we'll give it a whirl!

        1. re: P Macias

          It's great to hear that this place is still around. I don't know if Patrick still owns it, but he was the GM of La Valencia Hotel for quite some time...and also my boss back then! He is a very passionate about food and service, and I certainly learned much from him. What was the "problem" you referred to? I didn't catch it...?

          1. re: philhh

            I remember when Patrick was the GM at La V..my old stomping grounds at the Whaling bar..Is Manny still there?
            I enjoy going to French Market Grille for lunch and have always had good times there.

        2. Do a SEARCH for French Market Grille and read much more about the good food to be had here with a few other French restaurants to rotate through for comparison.
          I never get past the Calves Liver on the menu and it is my usual choice. Of course, I stop in there, when I have a taste for calves liver as only the French can prepare it.

            1. re: butterbutt

              North San Diego. Bernardo Heights Parkway and Pomerado Rd.

              1. re: Jim Strain

                In Rancho Bernardo and still going strong.
                Stopped in early tonite for my treat of Calves Liver and was not disappointed.
                Tasty as expected and a wonderful treat.
                It is a shame, it is not on more Menus and prepared as WELL!