I attended a birthday dinner at The Toasted Pheasant on Dale Mabry recently. It is a French bistro-style place. I had never been there. The birthday girl selected the restaurant.
I was impressed with most of the food. I arrived early and started with an individual pizza at one of the tables in the covered outdoor area. It was an anchovy, black olive, goat cheese and mozzarella (I think) pizza with a nice, super-thin crust and plenty of toppings. The problem with anchovies on a pizza is that they can often dominate all other flavors in a pizza. Happily, this was nicely balanced. I gave my girlfriend a slice (not an anchovy lover) and she could not even identify the flavor as anchovy, although she thought it was tasty. That's a good pizza! There are a lot more appetizer pizza selections with more mainstream ingredients. Some of the other people in our party ordered them later and said that they were equally good.
When the rest of our group arrived, we moved inside. I ordered the onion soup, which was intensely onion-flavored, a bit sweet, and not excessively salty, a problem, I find, with many onion soups. The soup came topped with a piece of toasted bread with gruyere (I think) cheese. It was not floating in the soup and easily lifted off the soup. The toasted bread with cheese was filling and a bit bland, which contrasted nicely with the intensive onion flavor of the soup.
The next course was a duck liver pate and a chicken meat/liver pate with ground pistachio nuts. The duck liver pate was not very "livery" tasting and had more a bologna texture. It was really the only thing I had which I thought needed work. It was just too bland. The chicken meat/liver pate was delightfully moist and flavorful. The pates came with buttered, toasted bread points, olives (I think) and cornichons. I understand that they make the bread there on the premises. It was crunchy and delightful.
I also had the duck confit, which tasted appropriately ducky.
Service was extremely attentive. Appetizers ran about $5 to $12, as I vaguely recall. Entrees ran about $15 to $22, with a salad included. I hope this place gets more support or that I just visited them on a rare slow (Tuesday) night because there were only three or four tables occupied the entire night. If places like this don't get more support, they are going to disappear and we will be left to the tender mercies of the chains. This is a great place to get delicious French food at a relatively low price. I recommend it.