Ooh La La! The French Gourmet offers tradition-rich dishes in Pacific Beach
By Kelley Carlson
While known for its catering services and wedding cakes, The French Gourmet also operates an intimate restaurant that is a favored choice for romantic dates, special occasions and people generally seeking a quieter atmosphere. Simply decorated with a vineyard theme, it’s not pretentious — yet it’s still sophisticated. “It’s a place to celebrate,” owner Michel Malecot said.
Malecot ensures that everything meets his standards, from the staff service to the quality of the ingredients, and serves as a mentor to his cooks. “Some of them have grown up with me — I’ve taught them how to do just about everything,” Malecot said.
There’s enough variety on the menu to whet most people’s appetite, from meat and seafood lovers to vegetarians and patrons who require specialized diets.
Much of the breakfast fare consists of eggs and omelets with farm-fresh eggs sourced from Eben-Haezer Poultry Ranch in Ramona. One standout dish is the Eggs Benedict with Canadian bacon and a Hollandaise sauce made from scratch.
And naturally, there’s The French Gourmet Toast — cinnamon-brown sugar brioche topped with syrup and fruit — and nearly a half-dozen types of crepes.
Lunch items range from paninis and salads to entrees such as Shrimp Scampi, sautéed in garlic and white wine with cream sauce.
Dinner begins at 4 p.m., and many guests opt for a first course composed of an appetizer, soup or salad. One selection is the Escargot a la Bourguignonne, a half-dozen snails broiled in a garlic herb butter sauce.
Another highlight is the Soupe a l’Oignon Gratinee, an onion soup with a thick top layer of melted Swiss cheese.
Customers also often lean toward the Avocado, Grapefruit, Chevre and Roasted Beet Salad; the house-made Pate Maison Sampler with duck, chicken liver and country delicacies; and the sizable French Gourmet Charcuterie Plate that includes pate, prosciutto, Framani handcrafted salami, mortadella and Genoa salami.
Next, patrons move on to entrees such as the Duck Leg Confit, Cabernet Braised Short Ribs, Sauteed Calf Liver, Scallops Provencale and Grilled Salmon.
There’s also the Filet Mignon with green peppercorn or Bearnaise sauce; and the pan-seared Monkfish in a nut and red pepper-based Romesco sauce.
For the piece de resistance, there are an abundance of house-made pastries, such as lemony Madeleines dipped in chocolate.
Guests can order all items a la carte, or choose from a three-course prix fixe menu that’s $25.95 per person.
Oenophiles will delight in the ample Champagne and wine selections from regions all over the world, whether it’s a Chateau de Candale Bordeaux, a pinot gris from King Estate in Oregon, or a bottle of Dom Perignon.
Instead of a happy hour, The French Gourmet presents an Early Bird special for two, 4-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. With the purchase of two main courses, each person receives a soup or salad and a dessert to share. Wine and martinis are $5 a glass.
The French Gourmet
960 Turquoise St., Pacific Beach
The Vibe: Intimate, romantic, cozy
Filet Mignon, Grilled Salmon, Cabernet Braised Short Ribs, Scallops Provencale
Open Since: 1989 (current location)
Take Out: Yes
Patio Seating: No
Happy Hour: No
Hours: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. daily; 4 p.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday (No dinners Monday)
Click below for this week’s recipe: The French Gourmet’s Shrimp Scampi
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