Last night I took my hubby for dinner for his birthday. We had a fantastic meal and a great time at La Parisienne in Duarte. It had been 5 years since our last meal there, and I almost didn't go after reading Will Owen's extensive post about it. But I was actually really surprised! They've redone the interior with new flooring, new tortoise-shell pendant lamps at each table and still life pictures on the walls. There was a really good guitarist playing live jazz and contemporary fun music. The busboys, waiter and maitre'd were all really smiley and happy, with very attentive service. They offered several types of bread very frequently throughout the meal ( so they aren't stingy with the bread anymore.) I had the French onion soup and the warm lobster salad to start, hubby had the potato leek soup and shrimp cocktail. French onion soup had just the right amount of cheese with a broth that wasn't too rich and perfectly melty onions, with the crouton. My only complaint is that it could have been browned more. Also was not too salty, often the case with most of these. Warm lobster salad had a large amount of chunks of Maine lobster, greens, avocado, and caviar in a butter/lemon sauce. Perfectly cooked lobster and the sauce was not too heavy. Leek and potato soup was rich and very smooth, delicious. Shrimp cocktail consisted of 3 meaty shrimp with avocado, red and yellow grape tomatoes. Good shrimp flavor and perfectly cooked.
For entrees, I had the duck l'orange and he had the filet mignon medallions wrapped in bacon. The medallions had good beefy flavor and were served with mushrooms in a port-wine sauce. The duck had nice crispy skin and was served on wild rice. Couldn't finish it all, as the portion was large. We had two amuse-bouche, one was some creamy salad with caviar on a slice of cooked potato, the other was grapefruit sorbet on a lemon slice. Didn't care for the first one, but the sorbet was really refreshing.
Dessert was bananas foster (no souffles, unfortunately,) They make it tableside, flaming with rum, brandy, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and pralines. Served with vanilla ice cream. This was heavenly but I wonder if there's a way to make the bananas a little crispy.
The place was busy, but the noice level was not prohibitive. You could still have a conversation with the person in front of you. The guitar player was fun and took requests. When they wrapped up my leftovers they offered more bread to take home. The bread was served warm and they had several choices ranging from olive, walnut, sun dried tomato to the classic baguette.
All in all we had a great time and I think the new owners have really spiffed up the interior, the service, the food, and the atmosphere. Highly recommended!!