Reviewer: 
M. H. Perry

Restaurant Le Palais—Authentic French

 Location 304 Main Street, Kentlands

 Phone:  (301) 947-4051

 Hours:
      Monday-Thursday
:  5:30 pm-9:00 pm

      Friday & Saturday: 5:30 am-10:00 pm

      Sunday:  Closed

Entering Le Palais, you find a room with closely seated tables covered with crisp linen. Toward the kitchen are several large hi-tech wine cabinets with several thermostats on front. This would be the first clue that here is not where you will want to take the kids for a quick supper when you get home late from work. Le Palais could, however, soon become THE location for a that really big occasion—not for a big party, the establishment is small—but rather for an engagement, an anniversary, or a time when there is someone you need to impress.

The French culture, more than any other in the world, has explored the subtleties of sensuous refinement, and Le Palais proprietor and executive chef Joseph Zaka is an excellent representative of culinary excellence having trained at the Culinary School of Dinard in Brittany, France. He and his wife, Christine, came to this country in 1999—his family had moved here thirty years ago—and opened Le Palais on December 9, 2004. Initially, they served lunch and dinner, but found that to be far too much for them since Chef Zaka works alone, although he will have one student from L'Academie de Cuisine.

The Appetizers include ◊Foie gras chaud, confit pear, Port sauce, ◊Smoked Salmon papillon, cream of chives, ◊Crab flan and its gazpacho sauce.

The Main Courses include ◊Stuffed Squab, roasted chestnuts, prunes a l'eau de vie, ◊Poached fillet of Salmon, lemon beurre blanc, ◊Duck pot-au-few, savoy cabbage, Tarragon and mustard sauce, and ◊Tournedos of Beef Tenderloin, sauce bordelaise. Menu items will change from time to time in order to have items that go with the season and in order for The Chef to have artistic variety. In the summer, Pavé of Veal with Truffle sauce replaces the winter item, Veal blanquette cooked in its Sauvignon, petits legumes.

Desserts include ◊Licorice Parfait, ◊Chocolate Fondant and its cream of orange and Grand Marnier, and ◊Passion fruit mousse, Raspberry coulis. We experienced (there really is no better word for this) the Passion fruit mousse, and the delicate harmony of flavors was exquisite. Indeed with every course, the artistry in combining subtle flavors is extraordinary.

As with many French restaurants, the items are not priced, rather the courses are. At this time, a two course menu is $39*, a three course $49*, and a 6 course $75*. You might not want to take people there whose favorite food is pizza, but for those with a sophisticated taste, Le Palais is worthy of that very special night out.

MHP    
May 2007  

*Please note! Maryland 20878® has no connection with any of the restaurants reviewed.  Prices and hours are listed as a convenience and are accurate as of the date of review, but may have changed at any time.  Consider the prices to be an indication of roughly what dinner might cost at the establishment.

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