Monsieur Paul's Restaurant: A Walt Disney World Dining Reviewby Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 05-15-2014
We're very fortunate in that we've tried a multitude of restaurants during our various visits to Walt Disney World.
But there was still one fine dining establishment that we hadn't made it to in all our trips. I'm not talking about Victoria and Albert's -- we've actually been lucky enough to dine there twice before -- but about what was once Bistro de Paris, and is now called Monsieur Paul's.
Epcot - Monsieur Paul's
The vacherin, meringue, vanilla ice cream, Chantilly, raspberry coulis and sorbet.
As the name suggests, Monsieur Paul's is located in the France pavilion in Epcot, but if you're scratching your head, trying to work out where it is, you won't be alone. This was one of the reasons that we hadn't dined there before, as it's hidden away. The restaurant is actually located above Chefs de France, but the entrance to it is tucked away at the back, opposite L'Artisan des Glaces, the ice cream and sorbet store.
When you walk into Monsieur Paul's, you immediately you step into a different world. It's a refined and relaxed atmosphere in here, and instantly you feel as if you're a million miles away from the throng of the theme park crowds outside. When your table is ready, you're taken up the stairs to the restaurant (there is an elevator as well), and up here is very different to the café atmosphere downstairs of Chefs de France. This has a much more elegant feel to it, and when we arrived for our meal, it was still early, so it was nice and quiet. I had hoped this would continue throughout, but sadly as the evening wore on, it became noisier in the restaurant. It didn't quite reach the levels of Chefs de France, but it certainly wasn't the refined atmosphere I was hoping for.
Monsieur Paul's is a signature restaurant, and the second you look at the menu, it become apparentt. When we dined there, the plats principaux, or main courses, ranged from $38 to $43, with appetizers even more eye-watering price wise. Some were more reasonable, starting from $14, but they went all the way up to $29! I was very glad we were on the Deluxe Dining Plan, as I knew we'd get our money's worth here.
We both went for one of those $29 appetizers, the Maine lobster with sautéed mushrooms (which apparently used nine different varieties, according to our server), mollet quail egg, with creamy black truffle bouillon. This was a perfect dish, and heavenly not just to eat, but to smell as well! Some of the other appetizer options on the night we dined at Monsieur Paul's included escargot ravioli with cream of parsley, mussel soup with saffron and light fennel cream, Serrano ham with white asparagus remoulade and red beets, and the other $29 option was the beef broth, oxtail, vegetables, black winter truffle and puff pastry.
For entrée, I went for the seared scallops, black truffle spaghettini, Romanesco cabbage, with rum cream emulsion. Now, much as I love scallops, I honestly felt this dish would have been perfect without the scallops, and I'm shocked to say that. It would have made a wonderful vegetarian dish, and perhaps that's an idea for the chefs here, as there was no vegetarian dish listed on the menu. I'm sure, had I asked, they would have come up with something, but I always like to see it catered for on the menu when you arrive, rather than feeling you have to trouble someone to develop something for you.
My husband had the grilled beef tenderloin with mushroom crest, mashed potatoes, and Bordelaise sauce, and although the presentation of the dish was nothing special, he had nothing but praise for the dish, saying the meat had been beautifully cooked.
You could also choose from red snapper in potato "scales," braised fennel and rosemary sauce, or free-range chicken ballotine, carrot and sun choke puree, with creamy spinach or roasted duck breast a l'orange, grated potatoes, and baby carrots.
The dessert menu had a number of wonderful choices, and after much debate, I opted for the moelleux, a warm chocolate and almond cake with raspberry coulis in the centre, with hazelnut crush and hazelnut ice cream, and wow, this was a superb choice. For me, this was the stand out dish of the night, so it was a wonderful way to finish the meal. My husband had the vacherin, meringue, vanilla ice cream, Chantilly, raspberry coulis, and sorbet, and once again, it was beautifully presented, and got full marks from my husband. I was only allowed to sample a bit of the raspberry coulis, which shows how zealously he was guarding it, but what I did try was exceptionally good.
Other options included la tarte aux agrumes (Sable Breton, pastry cream, orange and grapefruit segments, with citrus sorbet), le mille-feuille (puff pastry, pastry cream, berries, light lemon cream and strawberry sorbet) and le baba au rhum (baba soaked in pineapple and Martinican rum syrup, exotic sorbet and compote).
While our food was superb, this is only part of the dining experience, and that's where Monsieur Paul's let itself down. When we're dining at a signature restaurant, we expect to be able to take our time to savour the food, and enjoy the atmosphere. Sadly, we weren't given that opportunity, with each course coming out almost as soon as we had finished the previous one. We started to feel as if we were on a conveyor belt, with no time to catch our breath, which is not a feeling I expect when you're paying this much for a meal. For all three courses, we were done in less than an hour and a half, and we couldn't help but wonder whether some of the food was pre-prepared, rather than being prepared to order.
Our server was certainly very knowledgeable, and we had no issues with him, apart from the speed of the meal. We were much more impressed with him than our previous experience of signature dining at Epcot, which had been at Le Cellier a couple of years earlier.
The big shock was saved to the end of the meal, when the check arrived. Thank goodness we were on the Deluxe Dining Plan, as the food and two soft drinks came to $193 for the two of us. To put that in perspective, the California Grill came in more than $40 cheaper, and that included a glass of wine!
Monsieur Paul's is not a cheap place to dine. While the food is superb, the overall feeling we left with was that the whole meal was rushed, and sadly because of that, it will be some time before we return. From our experience at Monsieur Paul's that night, I'd say there are much more reasonably priced signature restaurants that provide better paced meals at Walt Disney World.
Epcot - Monsieur Paul's
Inside Monsieur Paul's.
About the Author: Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!
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