Delicious duck

In case you missed it, here’s my review of Le Normandie that appeared in Thursday’s Go! section of the Monterey Herald. I’ll be reposting my reviews and stories from my weekly column for the Herald here on my blog along with extra photos that didn’t appear in print.

Le Normandie is a restaurant steeped in history here on the Peninsula. Nestled inside the Holman Building in pacific Grove, it’s the latest restaurant venture from Christine and Francis Richard. The Richards have built a bit of a name for themselves among Monterey’s foodies.

It’s a bit of a love ’em or hate ’em relationship.

Le Normandie has built quite a bit of buzz around town, ripe with scandal, intrigue and duck confit.

It took some convincing from a friend, but decided I would have to try Le Normandie sooner rather than later.

I wound up at Le Normandie by complete coincidence a couple weeks ago when I met friends there for what turned out to be a fabulous dinner.

We started with the duck mousse pate ($10.95). The pate was very light, a smooth meaty mousse served with some freshly toasted crostini, Dijon mustard and cornichons.

My entrée included a cup of soup — I chose chicken mushroom. The flavors were so bold, and I appreciated the touch of curry in the soup.

A delicious bowl of chicken mushroom soup, seasoned with a hint of curry.

This was one of the best cups of soup I’d eaten in a long while.

For my entrée, I ordered Le Normandie’s infamous duck confit. How could I resist such this much-hyped dish? (Not that it took much arm-twisting — I could literally eat duck confit every single day).

Quack! Quack! Quack! A delicious plate of duck confit.

The duck confit ($26.95) included two duck legs, potatoes and fresh vegetables. It was a generous portion of delicious duck. The skin was crispy — though a tad greasy —and the duck meat beneath flaked off in tender, juicy morsels.

The accompanying veggies paled in comparison to the duck. I wish they had been a little more flavorful to stand up to the delicious duck.

It’s clear that Christine Richard takes pride in Le Normandie. She runs the restaurant as if you’re coming into her home for dinner.

The food might be a little humble and sometimes rough around the edges — just as you’d expect eating over at a friend’s house — but it’s mighty tasty.

With a number of special dinners throughout the week, Le Normandie is a steal of a meal.

Le Normandie has weathered controversy over the years and built a loyal local following along the way. I have many friends that regularly partake in Le Normandie’s Dinner and Wine combos on Tuesdays and Wednesday — soup or salad, an entrée and a glass of house wine all for just $18.95. Talk about a steal of a meal.

Le Normandie — 542 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove, 375-5011, www.yelp.com/biz/le-normandie- pacific-grove — is a hidden gem with fine French food that won’t break the bank.

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