Le Francais had always been the special occasion place for my wife and myself, until it freaked out under Don Yamauchi(sp?). We finally tried the new edition under the deux gros guys. it is back to its old form, in both style and substance. several of the old waiters who had quit have come back, and the room has been made more formal. The menu is short and traditional, with a lot of Banchet type dishes. It is a fixed price $80 for appetizer and entree and dessert, along with an amuse and sorbet.
The food was very good. My wife had a delicious but small piece of sauteed foie gras in a date preparation. I had the pate plate, which was more substantial, with a slice of duck/pistachio terrine, a large pile of duck liver mousse, and a couple slices of dry duck sausage. We both had the "Kobe-style" beef medallions and short ribs. the medallions were small and tender, although the foie gras they were supposedly stuffed with was barely noticable. the short rib was added to the plate with the sauce after serving. it was tender, but not particularly flavorful. A little salt might have helped. The desserts were excellent. I had the traditional grand marnier souffle, and the wife had the bomb, a white chocolate, lavander cake.
Overall, the food and service was excellent, although the portions could have been bigger. The price seemed a bit high, though, considering that it is not the cutting edge cooking of a tru or trio, but costs almost the same. Similar food can be had for half the price, in less elegant surroundings, at a number of other places, including my favorite, Petit Bistro on 12 in palatine, which i wrote about earlier.
Le Francais had definitely improved since the last chef, and it is hard to beat for romantic atmosphere, but at its price, it will remain a once a year place for us.
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