Walt Disney World Restaurant Review – Monsieur Paul
BY MIKE WARING – FEBRUARY 2013
Monsieur Paul restaurant, located upstairs above Chefs de France in Epcot, used to be called Bistro de Paris. It’s been redone fairly extensively, thus the new name. The décor is better. Gone are the black and white tiled floors, which weren’t appropriate anyway since those are traditionally found in a brasserie, not a bistro. But I quibble, a lot, and dribble, a little. Nothing radical has been done to the room’s layout, but the new materials seem to have reduced the sound level a fair amount.
The food was fair to middling. We had some high hopes for the black truffle soup, but the scent and flavor of the truffles wasn’t quite there. And at $29 a pop I’d kind of like to mainline some truffle essence. At that price (for a starter, by the way) I want them to bring out a man-sized platter of truffle shavings that I could roll around in, if that were my inclination.
The salmon appetizer was quite nice and the portion size was appropriate for a first course, but it was a little pricy, too. Like 17 smackeroos kind of pricy.
The main courses were just so-so. Mary got the red snapper with potato ‘scales’ which was quite gorgeous looking. If the potato had been cooked just a little more, it would have been much better. And there could have been maybe a cup or three less of the rosemary sauce. As tasty as the sauce was, the quantity served was overkill and then some. The fish was past the swimming stage at that point, and didn’t need a literal pool in which to exercise its fins.
My chicken with morilles (or morels as we call them in this country) would have benefited from a few more morels, which would have brought the total count of morels up to six or seven, not that I was counting or anything.
By the time we finished with our main courses we had concluded we’d probably be happier if we skipped dessert, or at least dessert at Monsieur Paul’s. We decided to go to Beaches and Cream for an ice cream sundae instead. Even with two scoops the sundae was less than half the price of Monsieur Paul’s offerings. On that basis, I cannot recommend Beaches and Cream enough.
Service at Monsieur Paul was amateurish at best; in fact, slightly worse than I would expect in an Olive Garden. For example, the waiter repeatedly committed Mary’s absolute pet peeve: he constantly and obtrusively reached across us, from both sides and even from diagonally across the table, to set down or clear plates or silverware. The table was not an awkwardly-placed one and it would have been easy for him to follow the usual rule of serving from the left and clearing from the right.
Fortunately the menu is fairly simple, which limits the number of things inexperienced or unmotivated wait staff can get wrong. So the amateur service is not the primary reason to skip this restaurant. The reason to avoid Monsieur Paul is that the food is just average, and combined with the lackluster service and the high prices, you can definitely do better elsewhere.
Really, if I’m going to pay these prices, I’ll spend a little more (ok, a lot more) and get a much better meal at Victoria and Albert’s. True, I will have to wear a jacket and a tie, whereas in Monsieur Paul nary an eyebrow would be raised if I desired to dine in shorts, a sleeveless t-shirt and a ball cap. Not that I would.
Appetizers are $14 to $29. Mains are $38 to $43 and desserts are all priced at $13. There is a Prix Fixe Menu at $89, with two courses, a dessert and a mise en bouche which as far as I am concerned is the same thing as an amuse bouche, which is supposed to be a ’gift’ from the chef and not a part of the menu. In any case, all grousing – well, most grousing — aside, the prix fixe menu doesn’t provide much if any savings and I’d probably hesitate to go that route. On the other hand, if you’re bound and determined that you need to gnaw on a steak or some lamb, the prix fixe is virtually the only way you’re going to satisfy that particular urge.
Overall, at these prices, if you’re not on the Dining Plan, I’d be highly inclined to give the ‘new’ Monsieur Paul a pass. If I was on the Dining Plan, I’d be happier with spending my two Entitlements (really? That’s the term they came up for Dining Plan credits – Entitlements?) on someplace like Le Cellier for a significantly better meal.