Saturday, September 02, 2006

The 52 - Le Parigo

No ride today. I'd wanted to, but Mrs. Guy was willing to spend the day cleaning out the basement and I really couldn't pass that up. That, and it would have been spousal-political suicide to go ride given her willingness to dive in to the downstairs disaster area. I do hope to take her out for a tandem ride tomorrow, though, and I've got a 70 mile ride to do with my bike club (SCO) on Monday.

Anyway, here is the promised restaurant review from yesterday.
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Nestled in along the black ribbon of asphalt that runs the entire length of Knoxville and then some, AKA Kingston Pike, is a little restaurant in a little cluster of shops. That restaurant’s name is currently Le Parigo, which serves food in more of a French style as you might expect, but the location was previously home to Mango, which was a favorite of ours up until about a year or so ago when it folded. Mango was part of a local set of restaurants started up by a man with a gift for the business, but when he drowned while on vacation a couple of years ago his family really didn’t have enough interest in the businesses to keep them going. The restaurants were sold off, with only two remaining viable. Mango didn’t really do all that well.

Fast forward to today, and Le Parigo has come in to take over the location. I haven’t really heard much about it, and haven’t really noticed them having a lot of business, so I figured they weren’t going to be around for long. All the more reason to go sooner rather than later. We were to meet Jeff, Gabe, and Gabe’s sister there at 7:00 pm, and we arrived just a few minutes early. We were glad we did.

Walking in we were greeted by Glen, who had been one of our favorite servers from Bogartz, which ended its run back in May or June. We grilled Glen on what he’d been up to (got married, still attending the UT School of Music, et cetera) as he led us to our table and seated us. Jeff and Gabe arrived minus Gabe’s sister (other commitment came up), so we introduced them to Glen and he went off to get our server for the evening.

We were given a wine menu, but I wondered a little why they expected us to pick a wine without seeing the main menu. I decided to play it safe and ordered a chardonnay (French, of course). When the server brought the bottle she gave the initial pour to Jeff, which was a faux pas (Look! I’m using French!) on her part since I’d ordered it, but we let it slide. She then gave us our menus and told us about the special for the evening.

Salads came first, and the ladies both chose Romaine Hearts with Goat Cheese Medallions dressed with Balsamic Vinaigrette garnished with Candied Pistachios and Kalamata Olives. Wow, I got tired out just typing all that. After the salads came out our server noticed that the pistachios had been left off, so she scurried back to the kitchen and got a small finger bowl full of them, so there were enough for Jeff and I to have some as well. For salads Jeff and I both had the Baby Greens dressed with the House Wine Vinaigrette with Prosciutto Gruyere and Granny Smith Apples. Gee, that was long, too. It took almost as long to type as it did to eat it. But it was good, especially with a few pistachios scattered in.

Next was the entrée course. Gabe had the Vegetable Tureen, which was the only vegetarian choice on the menu, but the presentation was wonderful (I understand it tasted good as well). Mrs. Guy had the Pan-seared Sea Scallops with Pommes Anna, Spinach and Prosciutto Custard, Carrot Puree and Burre Blanc. She really liked it a lot, but I figure that anytime you put scallops in front of Mrs. Guy she’s going to like them (unless they really screw up the preparation). Jeff had the Morel-Stuffed Ashley Farms Chicken Breast with Vegetable Ratatouille and Puree of Celeriac Mashed Potatoes. I’d almost picked that, but I think he likes mushrooms a little more than I do, and besides, I always hope that each of us will try different things. I decided go with the Sautéed Filet of Irish (not French) Salmon over Roasted Carrot Duo and Leek Fondat. I was very impressed by it as far as taste, but the leeks had a bit of a slimy seaweed look to them. I still ate it all, of course.

Dessert was last, and I again tried to encourage everyone to have something different, but Jeff and Mrs. Guy were having none of it and both ordered the, um, well…okay, they ordered the ménage a trios. The Crème Brulee Ménage a Trios to be specific, which was a set of three quite small crème brulees, one mocha (so-so), one vanilla (a little better), and one pistachio (fantastic). I think they should just go with the pistachio, but that’s just me…and Mrs. Guy…and Jeff and Gabe. Hmm. I guess it’s unanimous. Gabe at least tried the Mousse au Choclat, and while she liked it, she liked the mousse at Oodles (see the first of the 52) better. I had planned to have a Berry Neopolitan, but when the server mentioned that she personally had made a Pear Mousse that evening, I just had to try that instead. I wasn’t disappointed at all – she did a wonderful job. We came to find out that she’d also prepared the Pistachio Brulee, so her star rose a little bit at that point.

Mrs. Guy finished off with coffee and I had some Earl Grey with cream (which is how Earl Grey should be), and we continued the rest of our conversation while waiting for the (sizable) checks. As we reached the parking lot I asked everyone their opinions and found them mixed. I think we all liked the food, but found the service slow at times and the prices a bit high. Mrs. Guy and I were a bit disappointed in the lack of selection on their wine list, and Jeff’s main comment was that while he liked it okay, Oodles was better. Gabe said she preferred (another French restaurant to be reviewed later), though Le Parigo wasn’t bad. Overall, I feel that this is a place I am willing to go to, even happy to go to if invited to go with friends, but it wouldn’t really be a first choice for me.

1 comment:

Food snob said...

I think the place is awful. The owner is an arrogant idiot and wanted to argue with me over a dish that was not prepared properly. Also over-priced. There are at least two other French places in town that are better. That is a lot for Knoxville. This place won't last long.