Fine dining typically comes with an expensive bill, but not at Paulette’s Restaurant on Mondays when a three-course meal costs $19.95. Equally enticing, the Monday night menus change week to week, and the selections are appealing, updating comfort foods like pot roast with traditional French flair.
Tony and I visited Paulette’s last week for the first time since the longtime Midtown restaurant relocated last March to the River Inn at Harbor Town. We were impressed with the restaurant’s ambience, service and food. And after dinner, we enjoyed a fire in the hotel lobby fireplace made especially cozy by Audie Smith’s expert piano playing.
But back to our meal: Paulette’s legendary popovers and strawberry butter arrived immediately, and our server kept the bread basket full throughout dinner. (I hesitate to admit this, but I think between us, we ate five.) Next, I had a snappy arugula and mint salad with sherry vinaigrette, followed by a bowl of Mediterranean cioppino made with tomatoes, julienne carrots, white fish, mussels and shrimp nestled around a tender bulb of fennel. The stew was heavenly.
Tony started with a bowl of curried sugar pumpkin soup with crème fraiche followed by the best Yankee pot roast and jus I’ve eaten south of the Mason Dixon. Okay. That is a big statement, but the roast was succulent and flavorful, and it rested on a hefty serving of smashed red potatoes.
For our third-course, we shared a lovely apple tart Tatin topped with vanilla ice cream and white chocolate bread pudding with hard sauce. (Hard sauce typically combines eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla and whisky.) Both desserts were excellent.
Kelly Hartman is the new chef de cuisine at Paulette’s, and the Monday specials bode well for the rest of the menu served for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Check the restaurant’s website for next Monday’s choices, but here’s an enticement: The second-course selections are traditional corned beef with butter-braised cabbage and new potatoes, paneed chicken breast with penne, peas and carrots and crawfish ettouffee served over scallion rice. If those dishes don't sound appealing, you can also order off the regular evening menu.
Paulette’s Restaurant, 50 Harbor Town Square (901-260-3333)