The cafe in the Sofitel was on my list but it couldn’t have been a more perfect circumstance for arriving here to dine when I did. I was meeting a girlfriend for lunch and when I called to arrange a meeting point, it turned out that we were in the same ‘hood, only a couple blocks from each other and a only couple of blocks from Cafe des Architectes. The last bit of summer sun was shining directly onto the patio, calling to us to enjoy a sophisticated lunch and a crisp glass of vin blanc. Who am I to refuse such a calling?
It started with a beautiful bread basket, all made in house, which included, a pretzel roll, baguette, and crispy parmesan crackers, served with both butter and a zippy green olive tapanade.
We decide to go the ‘snacky’ route, ordering a few small plates to pick at while we sunned ourselves and chatted about life and love and all things girlie. My partner in crime is a trusting woman, putting her faith in me to order what I pleased. The first selection was the Chicken Liver Pate with Fig Jam, Cognac Gelee and Brioche. I could never pass up such a concoction! The pate was good, not the best I’d ever had, but darn good, and after trying it on the brioche, I found that I preferred to smear it on the baguette. Sometimes it can be TOO rich. The butter toasted buttery brioche just sent this already decadent spread with its sweet condiments over the edge for me. Luckily, I found a way to continue to enjoy it.
We both agreed that the Diver Scallop with Duck Confit, Curried Cauliflower & Golden Raisins sounded interesting. We went for it and were glad we did. The scallop was perfectly done (yes, THE (ONE) scallop…come on…), the duck, deep and flavorful while the curry lent an exciting counterpoint and loud flavor component to the dish. A little pop of sweet came every once in a while from the raisins. A success!
Lastly, we ordered another ‘jar’. This time something on the lighter side. A tartar of both ahi & yellowtail tunas with a yuzu-avocado puree was topped with a dollop of caviar and served with taro chips. The fish was good, of course, and the puree was creamy and smooth with the necessary little acidic zip from the yuzu. It was quite nice with the mellow sweetness and hearty crunch of the fried taro root. Pretty, isn’t it?
I can’t say that the service was incredibly impressive. When I asked about a specific wine, our server gave me blatantly wrong information and then tried to argue with me about it despite the fact that she was clearly uneducated on the subject. Just say “I don’t know”… it’s so much better than lying about it. And when returning from the restroom, my friend nearly got pummeled by a busser. That carried our conversation for a while. In a place like this, you’d expect management to train their staff to let the guest pass when coming to a head. Not so much the case here. Kinda strange.
Anyway, overall, a delicious and enjoyable lunch.
The Short Version (Out of 10)…
Overall impression: 8
Would I go back?
Under the right circumstances, yes.