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Le Palais, A Country-French, Fine-Dining Diamond in the Gaithersburg Rough - Closed


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Just wanted to let everyone know about my dinner last night at a relatively new restaurant in Kentlands Shopping Center, which is located in Gaithersburg, MD. The restaurant was apparently written up recently in either The Washington Post or The Washingtonian. I know it was mentioned in the 100 best restaurant magazine for one particular dish. The restaurant is small and you will more than likely need reservations, espeically once word of this place gets out and it becomes busier. Their number is 301-947-4051 and they're located at 304 Main Street. There are something around 28-30 seats and the night we were there (monday) there was a total of six people, a four top and my girlfriend and I. The have two employees basically, the chef and his wife, they each run half of the restaurant basically. Apparaently their son comes in and helps on busy nights, but that's it. Anyways, they have a prix-fix menu consisting of either 2, 3, or 6 courses. We ended up getting a 3 course meal (48 bucks) but I would have loved to get the six with was in the middle to upper 70's, very reasonable considering the quality of food we got. We both have very refined palates, me being a cook at Maestro in the Ritz-Carlton Tyson's Corner and formerly a cook at 2941 has introduced me to some of the best food in town. I can say this was one of the best meals I can remember. My gf's dinner consisted of a smoked salmon plate with goat cheese and chives, designed like a butterfly (cute and tasty), sauteed calamari tubes with green olives and garlic, Duck Pot au feu (spl?) with cabbage/potatoes and a mustard/tarragon sauce. My dinner consisted of sauteed escargot with puffy pastry "shell", seared foie gras over poached pear and sauterne sauce (big portion and perfectly cooked), and squab stuffed with chestnuts and prunes with a light roasting jus. The service was great, we received an amuse of a salmon roulade. We got a cheese plate for our dessert which I had a glass of Cote du Rhone with which was very nice and my gf had one of the largest glasses of sauterne I've ever seen, the stem itself being a good 7 inches I'll bet. After the check we both got a chocolate and grand marnier truffle coated in cocoa powder. I really can't say enough good things about the place and would recommend it to anyone looking to have a great meal in a cozy french restaurant. He changes it often, but also keeps some of the favorites around all the time which is normal for any chef. Call them up and go for dinner, as they are only open for dinner, mon-sat, closed on sundays.

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Welcome, matt.

Talk about flying under the radar screen...

Any ideas where the owners came from?

Viva La France, or something like that. lol He's from a part of france near normandy I believe, I don't know where his wife is from in france, but she's french as well. I talked to him for about 10 minutes after our meal. Such a nice guy, which can be hard to find in a chef, let alone a french chef. He's 50 but I wouldn't have put him a day over 35. He owned two restaurants in france back in the 80's and 90's I believe. Been in the states for 6 years where he worked front of the house for various restaurants and this is the first cooking he's done in the states, but certainly not his first chef's position. Thanks for the welcome, you'll be hearing a lot more from me in the future, don't worry <_<

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This from April of 05.  Looks like they have made some modifications as the article states that they served lunch and regular menu.

Yeah there just wasn't enough lunch business for him to be open, not to mention since he's the only one in the kitchen doing double shifts everyday for six days a week is far too much work for any one person, no matter how young or how talented

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We both have very refined palates, me being a cook at Maestro in the Ritz-Carlton Tyson's Corner and formerly a cook at 2941 has introduced me to some of the best food in town. I can say this was one of the best meals I can remember.

Pay close attention to what themattstone is saying up above. I thought I'd dined at every great restaurant in the region - most of them multiple times - but Le Palais is one I'd somehow missed. Last week, I had what might just represent the best country-rustic French cooking in the entire area, and when I say "country-rustic," I mean that in the most refined sense - it's the type of cooking you'll find at "Bib Gourmand" restaurants in the Michelin Red Guide. What struck me is how good of a saucier this chef is, particularly with the Coq Au Vin which was served with a ridiculously good sauce that could almost be called a homestyle chicken gravy.

Le Palais is quite literally a mom-n-pop restaurant, with the Chef in the back, his charming wife Christine running the front, and a child waiting in the kitchen for the last of the diners to finish, so the family can have their late-night supper together. While not inexpensive ($39 for two courses), this is a restaurant that I would happily return to for a special occasion.

I don't want to jump up-and-down too much after only one meal, but I can hardly contain my enthusiasm about Le Palais. Shame on me for waiting so long to dine here.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Pay close attention to what themattstone is saying up above. I thought I'd dined at every great restaurant in the region - most of them multiple times - but Le Palais is one I'd somehow missed. Last week, I had what might just represent the best country-rustic French cooking in the entire area, and when I say "country-rustic," I mean that in the most refined sense - it's the type of cooking you'll find at "Bib Gourmand" restaurants in the Michelin Red Guide. What struck me is how good of a saucier this chef is, particularly with the Coq Au Vin which was served with a ridiculously good sauce that could almost be called a homestyle chicken gravy.

Le Palais is quite literally a mom-n-pop restaurant, with the Chef in the back, his charming wife Christine running the front, and a child waiting in the kitchen for the last of the diners to finish, so the family can have their late-night supper together. While not inexpensive ($39 for two courses), this is a restaurant that I would happily return to for a special occasion.

I don't want to jump up-and-down too much after only one meal, but I can hardly contain my enthusiasm about Le Palais. Shame on me for waiting so long to dine here.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Don,

We've often thought about going but haven't had a sense of how toddler friendly it would be. Would a well-behaved but exuberant two year old be out of place?

Thanks!

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Don,

We've often thought about going but haven't had a sense of how toddler friendly it would be. Would a well-behaved but exuberant two year old be out of place?

Thanks!

I hate to say yes because I'm certain that Christine would be welcoming to exuberant toddlers, but ... Le Palais really came across as an adult restaurant to me, with carpeting and tablecloths making an already-small dining room that much more quiet. You can get a pretty good sense of the room here - maybe early on a weeknight?

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My wife and I ventured in here Wednesday night. We live in Lakelands, so the commute was easy :-)

The food was excellent -- we had pumpkin soup, which was a revelation as compared to the tiresome squash soups we've had in the past. Spicy, yet not too curried, and perfectly smooth. Highly refined for this type of soup.

I had a braised beef with a peppery, winy sauce and a potato dauphine/tart. It looked awfully plain on the plate, but this was definitely a case of not judging a book by its cover. My wife had a ravioli of lamb, which was far superior to how it sounds. The homemade wrapper was more akin to a wonton than an Italian ravioli, and the lamb was sublime.

We finished with a rather ordinary, but competent, creme brulee. The only real negative was the $10 bottle of Perrier (I had to pass on wine due to some medication I'm currently taking), but otherwise the prices are fine in view of the quality.

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My wife and I ventured in here Wednesday night. We live in Lakelands, so the commute was easy :-)

The food was excellent -- we had pumpkin soup, which was a revelation as compared to the tiresome squash soups we've had in the past. Spicy, yet not too curried, and perfectly smooth. Highly refined for this type of soup.

I had a braised beef with a peppery, winy sauce and a potato dauphine/tart. It looked awfully plain on the plate, but this was definitely a case of not judging a book by its cover. My wife had a ravioli of lamb, which was far superior to how it sounds. The homemade wrapper was more akin to a wonton than an Italian ravioli, and the lamb was sublime.

We finished with a rather ordinary, but competent, creme brulee. The only real negative was the $10 bottle of Perrier (I had to pass on wine due to some medication I'm currently taking), but otherwise the prices are fine in view of the quality.

I too live in the Lakelands neighborhood and despite being able to walk here, it took us 2 years to finally go.

I enjoyed the Gratinee of Codfish, bechamel of leek, Sauvignon blanc, fumet de poisson. The whole gratinee was very rich while the codfish kept it balanced so it wasn't a big heavy casserole. I started to just plow through it, then I slowed down and savored it - and it was a generous serving. It was comfort food served in a very formal and well executed way.

Like the poster above, I found the creme brulee ordinary - until I realized that I was probably used to the sugared-up versions others may serve. Since this didn't shock me with sweetness, at first I thought it weak somehow but then realized I was tasting the other ingredients not JUST sugar. That was nice.

Anyway, it was a very nice, relaxed meal and we'll be back... hopefully many times as we grow old in this neighborhood.

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I have walked and driven by Le Palais dozens of times and have always wanted to try it.  I guess I should have made an effort sooner.  The Lakelands newsletter reports that it has closed and that a new awning was put up with the name "EuPHOria Kitchen".  I am kind of bummed.  Lots of good Pho around, but not much quality fine dining.

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On 2/3/2017 at 7:51 AM, pras said:

I have walked and driven by Le Palais dozens of times and have always wanted to try it.  I guess I should have made an effort sooner.  The Lakelands newsletter reports that it has closed and that a new awning was put up with the name "EuPHOria Kitchen".  I am kind of bummed.  Lots of good Pho around, but not much quality fine dining.

This is a *huge* loss for Gaithersburg - people don't realize just how huge.

I'm tempted to say that Le Palais was the best restaurant Gaithersburg ever had, but I just haven't been recently enough to say that with confidence, so i'll say it *might* have been.

When I say that the DC area dining scene is in decline (and has been for awhile now), this is *precisely* what I mean.

But my goodness the spelling on their wine list was *atrocious*.

Screenshot 2017-02-05 at 1.07.26 AM.pngScreenshot 2017-02-05 at 1.07.35 AM.pngScreenshot 2017-02-05 at 1.07.45 AM.png

 

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Sigh.  We never went.  We would mention it to each other once a year and then forget about it, lost partially because it wasn't on my open table app (I'm lazy that way) and also because we never drive down that street in the Kentlands so we never had a visual reminder.  Plus with Wegmans just up the highway, we are in the Kentlands so much less than we used to be.  

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