I would consider myself a regular at Le Paradis, arguably my favorite restaurant in Toronto. And, I have never been as disappointed as tonight. Feeling confident about the trusty good food at Le Paradis, I raved about the place to a couple of my friends who had never been there. So, the three of us went and, boy was it a downer!
We ordered a green salad, the soup of the day (mushroom) and aragula salad. After the orders were taken and the salads arrived, my friend was told that the soup would take about 20 minutes to prepare. He was "encouraged" to have a salad instead, which he did. Not a good start!
My green salad was pretty average. Greens were reasonably young, tomatoes flavourless but ok. Light dressing, as usual (good). I am used to more flavourful and inspiring green salads at Le Paradis, so I was thinking to myself that it was a bit lame tonight (not enough to complain though, just a thought). Then, my choucroute arrived! Instead of a duck confit, I had a piece of boiled duck leg in my dish. There was no flavour to the food, none of the regular spices, just a pile of cabbage with some meats thrown into it. Took a few bites, thinking to myself that this could not be happening at Le Paradis. Eventually, I told the waitress that I was truly disappointed with the dish. She very quickly offered to take it away and replace it with something else of my choosing. I asked her what she would recommend and she said "the rabbit stew." Amazingly, it arrived within a few minutes. It was a bit better, more flavourful although the white sections of the meat were dry. A great veggie-based sauce made the dish quite pleasant. My friends were a bit more lucky (or less picky). One had the lamb shank and she enjoyed every bite of it. The other friend has the braised chicken and he too was very happy.
Finally, the sorbets were a good reminder of the Le Paradis I know of. Creme caramel and Balthazar were had by my friends, who could not stop cheering the food.
I really hope that this is an isolated case and it will never repeat again. I love to see this great place full of patrons, who appreciate what Le Paradis does for food lovers. I am willing (and hoping) to forget tonight and get back to the great food Le Paradis serves at an exceptional price.