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El Paseo (Mill Valley) changes hands - review

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El Paseo (Mill Valley) changes hands - review

Adam S | Jun 17, 2006 12:28 PM

We went to El Paseo on a last-minute whim to discover it had changed hands. New ownership, chefs, staff some changes to the room, including comfortable new chairs.

The menu is now a prix fixe $45 for three courses or $65 for four courses. The three course version offers an entree, vegetable course, and choice of seafood or meat entree. The four course version allows you to pick a seafood dish and a meat dish. Supplements of $5-8 for foie gras, lamb, some cuts of beef etc. Dessert is $8 (we didn't sample).

For the price, the food was somewhat disappointing. Plus points included the Oysters with turnip foam and an extremely good Asparagus soup which was the standout dish of the meal. the bread came with olive oil and toated corinader seeds to dip into it, which was a nice touch. The homemade beet-filled pasta with a cream sauce was also good.

Things took a wrong turn in everything involving meat. Sweetbreads came with a pleasant nicoise-y sauce but lacked the richness that good sweetbreads should have. They had been coated in indifferent fine breadcrumbs, which I think was the culprit for this. They would have tasted better unadulterated.

Main courses were very disappointing. Both the bavette steak and rack of lamb persille were slightly tough, not flavorful pieces of meat. The persille coating on the lamb tasted dry and detracted rather than enhanced the dish.

There was an interesting selection of good French wines. If you ask them to match wines, check the price beforehand if they haven't added it to the menu.

Overall, this is a disppointing change. We used to very much like the well-executed French standards at the old El Paseo and thought it was one of the few good restaurants in the disappointing Mill Valley food scene (Buckeye being the other honorable exception). Maybe the food will improve at the new plave as they settle in but the restaurant clearly has work to do.

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