Off the Menu OC

Covering the dining scene in and around the OC

Bask in Bastille Day Menus at Three OC Restaurants

Happy Bastille Day! This week, three local French restaurants celebrate their homeland’s holiday by offering Bastille Day specials. But what exactly is Bastille Day?

 Americans have the Fourth of July, the French have the Fourteenth of July, which is the day in 1789 the fortress-prison, le Bastille, which was stormed by liberal mobs. Read more about Bastille Day on Wikipedia.  

While we won’t be watching a parade march down the Champs-Élysées or fireworks behind the Eiffel Tower, Bastille Day still offers an excellent excuse to treat ourselves to classic Parisian dishes.

Marche Moderne, Brasserie Pascal and French 75 are offering traditional Bastille Day specials so that we can join in the festivities and feel like we’re in France for an evening.  

Marche Moderne in South Coast Plaza is serving Chef Marneau’s favorite Bouillabaisse Marseillaise for eight nights, from July 12-19. The dish from the South of France will feature fish caught off the coast of Nice, Marseilles and Toulon and air-shipped to the restaurant for next day delivery.

Because it is caught daily, the fresh seafood may change depending on the catch, but Marneau’s specialty consists of octopus, scallops, mussels, clams and shrimp, as well as French rouget, Saint Pierre, dorade grise, rascasse and sèche. (I have no idea what those are, but they sound great!)

The bouillabaisse also contains fennel, potato and tomate rôti, and is finished with an aromatic broth. Chef’s accompaniments served on the side are rouille (traditional sauce), croutons, basil-scented tomato tartare, fennel pollen emulsion, lemon-garlic emulsion and tapenade. 

 Chef Marneau is also serving exquisite French aperitifs, such as Dubonnet, Pernod, Ricard, Cardinal and Kir vin blanc for $7 to $9, as well as the Château Saint-Martin Rosé de Provence ($13), a perfect pairing with the classic bouillabaisse. 

 The Bastille Day special is priced at $50 and is available at dinner only. For reservations, please call (714) 434-7900 or visit  

 Brasserie Pascal’s Bastille menu on July 13 and 14 will help you forget about the foie gras ban.  This special 3-course prix fixe menu – created by Chef Pascal Olhats – offers diners three choices of delectable dishes for each course. 

 The appetizers include Lobster Bisque with White Truffle Foam, Pan Seared Farinette (pancake) with Roasted Tomatoes and Watercress Drizzle with Truffle Beurre Blanc, and Coquilles Saint Jacques Florentine (scallops in white wine sauce). 

 Entrees cover a wide range of foods, from Braised Halibut Provencale served over Couscous, to the Entrecote à la Bordelaise with Pommes Frites, to the Airline Chicken à la Crème with a Celery Root Purée. 

 As for dessert, Pascal provides a difficult decision. Choose between the Tarte au Citron (lemon tart) with Homemade Raspberry Coulis or the Crêpes au Chocolat with Caramalized Bananas, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Banana Cognac Sauce. 

 The 3-course prix fixe menu is $35 per person, and $44 with wine pairing. To make a reservation, please call (949) 640-2700 or visit

 French 75 in Laguna Beach invites diners to bring out their “inner Frenchy” July 13 and 14 with a 3-course menu accompanied by live music.  

 To start, select from Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée with Gruyère Cheese; Shrimp Provencal with Garlic, Tomato, Basil & Fennel Sauce; Herbed Goat Cheese Salad with Baby Mixed Greens, Garlic Roasted Almonds, and Balsamic Reduction; or Escargot Cassoulet with Parsley Garlic Butter. 

 Like Marche Moderne, French 75 is also serving Bouillabaisse, but Provençal-style, with a Fish Selection, Mussels, Scallops, Calamari, Zesty Saffron Bouillon, and Rouille. Other entrée options are Wild Salmon with Burgundy Risotto and Fennel Beurre Blanc, Filet Mignon with Dijon Pomme Purée, Broccolini, and Peppercorn Cognac Sauce, and Poulet aux Olives: Pan Roasted Chicken Breast, Potato Gratin, Broccolini, and Olive Pan Sauce.

 And if that’s not enough, choose between the Lemon Curd Tart with Puff Pastry, Chantilly Cream, & Berry Coulis, or the Chocolate Soufflé with Cointreau Cream. 

 The 3-course special dinner is $35 per person. Call (949) 494-8444 or visit

 Thanks for reading!  

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Christopher Trela

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