My next DOV dinner was a date with Mr. (finally his turn!) We went to Le Parisien for my favourite food, French cuisine. I went there once for a birthday celebration and I thought the food was pretty good. Since the menu was pretty decent, I decided to take Mr. there to give it a try.
Before I start, I should let you know that Le Parisien actually offers a $38 menu on-site. The appetizers and entrees were different from the promoted $28 menu with dishes such as Chicken Liver Pate, Tuna Tartare, Pan Seared Ling Cod and Beef Bourguignon. We decided to stick with the $28 menu because we’re more interested in that menu.
By the way, this is the only place so far that offers bread free of charge. Restaurants these days tend not to offer free bread during Dine Out in order to save on costs, so this is very much appreciated. And I like that it’s warm with a jaw-friendly crust. It’s not rock hard like traditional French baguette.
I had the Butternut Squash Soup to start and it wasn’t quite what I had expected. It’s usually creamy and thick, but this one was rather thin. It tasted like a broth flavoured with some butternut squash, instead of pureed butternut squash thinned out with broth. Even the creme fraiche was foamy and airy so didn’t add any creaminess to the soup. It tasted pretty good but it’s lacking the richness that I was looking for in a butternut squash soup.
Mr. ordered the Crispy Calamari, which I thought was quite good. It’s lightly seasoned and battered, and fried to a nice crispy form. I like that they used the small-sized squid for this so it’s very tender. My only complaint was that the rings were too thin. A slightly thicker cut would give it a bit of chew and you would be able to taste the squid. Now it’s almost a 50-50 between batter and calamari so it’s really hard to distinguish the squid flavour. We were skeptical about the oven roasted tomato but it turned out to match the calamari quite well.
One of my favourite French dishes is Duck Confit, so of course I had to get it here. It was well-seasoned, not too salty, and the meat was fork tender. The mashed potato was creamy (i.e. buttery), and the sauteed Brussels sprout leaves added some crispy texture to the dish. At first glance you may think the portion is small, but it’s actually quite rich and filling.
Mr.‘s Grilled Flank Steak Frites was a bit disproportioned. The flank steak was too small for my standard and 3/4 of the plate was filled with fries. That being said, Mr. thought the steak was cooked nicely to medium rare and the peppercorn sauce was flavourful. Flank steak isn’t the best cut of beef but this wasn’t chewy and was tender. The fries were also pretty good. Soft and fluffy inside yet crispy on the outside.
For dessert I decided to go outside of my chocolatey norm and went for the Red Wine Poached Pear. For some reason I had expected it to be served warm but it was actually cold. The pear was nice and soft and absorbed all the red wine goodness. It would make a perfect holiday dessert if it’s warm with prominent cinnamon/nutmeg flavours. I thought it was a bit weird to pair with a lady finger but it tasted pretty good dipping in the red wine sauce.
Mr. went for the Classic Crème Brulée and you can’t really go wrong with that. It was actually more eggy than most other creme brulee that I’ve had. The brulee part was very well done; it just cracked with a light tap.
The servers were super approachable and friendly. Eavesdropping on conversations at the neighbouring tables I noticed the servers were very patient in explaining what some of the dishes were to other diners. I thought it’s really cool that they all speak French there. It almost gives you the feeling that you’re in France.
The dishes were not perfect but I think all in all it was executed quite well. Variation of the above dishes are actually available in their regular menu, so this is a good opportunity to preview the restaurant. The $28 menu will be available until February 13, 2014.
751 Denman Street, Vancouver