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French Gourmet is a bastion of true cuisine

Since 1993, when The French Gourmet opened its doors on Turquoise Street, this fine French restaurant and bakery has been a bastion of gourmet French cuisine. The restaurant serves three meals a day, and offers outstanding full-service catering with delivery service, set-up and party equipment available as well.

If you’ve driven past the restaurant lately, you must have noticed the sunny yellow front. The cheery French-inspired color scheme is just one of the changes at The French Gourmet. The menu has been tweaked a bit too, although most of the familiar favorites are still around.

What better way to start a dinner than with The French Gourmet’s pate sampler ($9.95). This marvelous starter, which is big enough to be shared, features three different home-made pates: chicken, duck and country pate. Accompanying these French classics are onion chutney, pickled garlic, cornichons, Greek-style Petrou olives and sliced French Gourmet baguette. What a treat. The only problem is you’ll find yourself filling up on the delicious bread with the pates, but that’s not so bad either.

Other classic appetizers you can enjoy at The French Gourmet are escargots a la bourguignone ($8.95), frog legs sauteed with garlic, olive oil and sweet tomatoes ($9.95), and the heavenly onion soup topped with melted Swiss cheese on French bread ($4.95 per cup and $6.95 per bowl). The restaurant has a soup du jour as well, so ask your server about that.

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Another welcome newcomer to the menu is the pomegranate salad ($7.95). This colorful mix of greens, Boston lettuce, sliced apple and pomegranate seeds is dressed with a light pomegranate vinaigrette. You can still get the traditional house salad with French vinaigrette for $3.95.

Most entrees are served with the vegetable of the day and your choice of rosemary red potatoes, potatoes au gratin, potato pie or pommes dauphine. What potato lover can resist a selection like that? We’re hooked on the potato pie.

There are three different chicken preparations on the menu, all priced at $18.95. The newest dish is the Moroccan chicken. It comes with a half chicken grilled and baked in a fragrant marinade of lemon-lime, mint, garlic, onion, cilantro and cumin. Traditional chicken piccata with lemon and capers, and mushroom marsala with white wine and mushroom sauce is still a favorite.

If you like halibut, you must try the new preparation of this popular fish ($23.95). The French Gourmet poaches the filet with a filling of salmon mousse. Then, the dish is covered with a mushroom and white wine sauce. You just don’t find a more enticing fish dish than this one.

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Every French restaurant serves a duck dish, but not everyone does duck like this. The Gourmet partially bones half a roasted duckling and serves it with a raspberry sauce ($22.95). It’s a marvelous dish.

Veal lovers can opt for scallopini piccata or Normande with apple and cream sauce. The veal scallopini is priced at $26.95.

Ratatouille is listed on The French Gourmet’s healthy dining menu, but you’ll savor this health-conscious traditional recipe on the merits of its flavor alone, with sauteed eggplant, onions, bell peppers, zucchini and tomatoes ($15.95). The chef serves it over couscous.

Salmon gets royal treatment in a puff pastry and served with a dill veloute ($19.95). Fresh salmon filet is also available poached with lemon or Hollandaise sauce, or grilled with a citrus marinade and a refreshing papaya salsa ($19.95).

Filet mignon ($26.95) and sirloin steak au poivre ($22.95) are two terrific meat dishes on the dinner menu, and foie de veau ($19.95) features sauteed calf’s liver with onions and demi-glace.

The breakfast and lunch menu is just as exciting, when you have dishes such as brie cheese omelet ($12.95) and crepes. There are several crepes on the menu, including seafood ($12.95) and spinach and goat cheese ($12.95).

French pastries take the cake at this restaurant and bakery, so check out the dessert tray. If you’re like most of us, you’ll be bringing home some fresh pastries, croissants and crisp bread when you leave. Service is excellent, and the wine list is impressive and reasonably priced.

For that special birthday or anniversary, ask about The French Gourmet’s custom-designed cakes. They’re fabulous, and the wedding cakes are magnifique.

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The French Gourmet is at 960 Turquoise St. Call (858) 488-1725.