The Old Warsaw, established 70 years ago and steeped in continental tradition, occupies a demure house on Maple Avenue, where a butter dish comes on a doily. Where else can you order beef Wellington, steak Diane, and lobster thermidor? The raspberry souffle is rather nice. But this erstwhile grande dame does not offer a glamorous throwback. Instead, it’s a museum piece, dusty and stodgy, serving dishes from a dated repertoire.
The mortuary-dim dining room is presided over tentatively. Like Sleeping Beauty’s castle, in which everyone is under a spell, time has stood still here. The rest of the world, however, has moved on. The restaurant is showing its age, and doing little to compensate for it. Overcooked, chewy lobster foisted back into its shell with a cream sauce and gratinéed cheese doesn’t quite constitute luxury anymore.
There was little vitality in beef Wellington wrapped in flabby bronzed pastry, the filet grainy and no mushroom duxelles or foie gras to be detected. Asparagus was grayish; forest mushrooms were merely cremini. The best thing we had that evening was potatoes au gratin, creamy and flavored with nutmeg. Crêpes suzette flambéed for dessert were fine—boozy and redolent of juiced oranges. Did we desire coffee? No. Frankly, we preferred the check.