in San Juan Capistrano
French cuisine at its best in the OC
Article by Linda Kissam
Photos by Allan Kissam
When you do something right, you should be applauded for it. Put your hands together for Chef Pascal Olhats and his restaurant “Pascal.” It is a bakery, deli, a breakfast and lunch bistro, and a wine bar located in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
The menu offers a unique French inspired collection of items for dining in or takeout. Do you love croissants? How about a warm soothing butternut squash soup? Seabass au Thym (my favorite) is a good bet as are the Petite onion tart and pesto tomato tartelettes. You will not find a better Macanese egg tart or Salade Lyonnaise anywhere. The former is a decadent pastry he discovered after traveling to Macau, the latter his version of a Caesar salad. The Salade Lyonnaise is a proverbial customer favorite and has been served from opening day.
Wines to try include a 2015 Vin De Bourgogne, Macon – Vinzelles, Appellation Macon-Vinzelles Controlee and the 2015 Dellas Freres Les Launes, Crozes-Hermitage (Syrah), Appellation Crozes-Hermitage Controlee.
In the category of, “Who does it best?” Chef Olhats wins hands down.
Consider the Salade Lyonnaise. Chef has really put some time and creative effort into making it one of the best salads offered in on the SoCal dining scene. Start with butter lettuce and curly endive. Toss it with a Dijon-spiked vinaigrette. Top with premium crisp mini bacon strips and croutons made from a French baguette. Add in a perfectly poached egg on top (a feat in itself) and it’s time to let the good times roll when your fork releases the exquisite yellow yolk on to the greens, unleashing a magical taste sensation for your mouth. Just sayin’.
A good way to try what Pascal does best is to be part of the “Pascal’s Experience.” The affordable Thursday – Saturday 6:00pm prix fixe menu is a decadent white tablecloth experience limited to 24. Sign up for it via OpenTable. The four-course dinner menu features chef-driven market specials, as well as his classics. If you’re lucky the menu will feature either the thyme-crusted sea bass and or roasted chicken Provencal, but it doesn’t really matter, it’s all good.
My first introduction to Pascal was through a food writer’s luncheon Chef hosted for the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association So Cal membership. If you don’t think that’s a tough crowd, think again. To the person, each member loved the place, the taste and of course Chef Olhats who makes it all happen day in and day out.
31451 Rancho Viejo Road, Suite 103
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Monday – Friday 7.30am to 7.00pm
Saturday 8.00am to 4.00pm
Thursday – Saturday
Starts at 6.00pm
Formal Prix Fixe Dining
Reservations via Open Table only