207 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Call 561-659-6524, or visit maisoncarlos.com.
We once loved chic Maison Carlos for its nostalgic take on Italian and French "Continental" cuisine. The menu felt like a '60s throwback plunked down in the middle of Clematis Street, from the oysters Rockefeller and vichyssoise to the soupe a l'ognion and the perfectly calibrated martinis served by elegantly dinner-jacketed staff. These days, the concept feels more dated than delightful, and sadly, recently both food and service have succumbed to dreaded mediocrity. Lobster risotto is gummy, fish served à la Milanese is reminiscent of Mrs. Paul's, a tossed salad comes swimming in olive oil. A Tuscan-style steak is too tough to chew, and a bland dessert flan does nothing to sweeten the deal. The small wine list of French, Italian, and California bottles is mostly pricey and uninspired. Even worse, the pall has settled so thoroughly over the place that even the once-perfectionist staff just doesn't seem to give a damn. The only thing that remains of the old magic is the luxurious prices.