In these days of fusions and foam, fire pits and TV sets, it's nice to know that one can still enjoy a classic dining experience with white tablecloths and traditional French cuisine in a quiet atmosphere. Pascal Olhats changed the name of his original Newport Beach eatery to Tradition by Pascal to emphasize his commitment to French fine dining.
Large bouquets of roses adorn each of the three dining areas and single roses decorate the tables. Gentle light from the hanging fixtures suffuses each table and creates a sense of warmth and privacy. Service is attentive and amiable and a quiet conversation is actually possible.
In addition to the regular dinner menu, there are three prix-fixe offerings: one three-course and two four-course menus, ranging from $40 to $65. We ate there during Restaurant Week and had a lovely three-course dinner for only $30, albeit with fewer choices.
Escargots, the classic French appetizer, was given a twist. They are served in a little cast-iron crock, so there are no shells to fight but lots of garlicky butter and an interesting and delicious addition of sliced toasted almonds for texture and raisins for sweetness. The escargots were particularly tender and infused with the sauce, which we were eager to sop up with some nice baguette. Alas, here in a proper French restaurant, the bread was not crusty, warm nor tasty.