Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cafe Paris

Downtown Metuchen, Central New Jersey holds some gems as far as restaurants are concerned. If you find french food sounds too heavy with the sauce, butter, and just full of calories; then you need to visit this place. The portions are just right and not heavy at all.

The restaurant’s owner is a Parisian, and opened this second location of Caf├ę Paris in 2004, and the other is in Cranford. Both locations offer dishes prepared with fresh and healthy ingredients like out of the garden, which are picked up directly from the morning’s market.

I enjoyed dinner there recently with a group of friends, and I found myself wanting a spoon to eat my Beef Bourguignon, so I kept the one from my soup appetizer. This silver extension of my hand was a nice deep rounded spoon for eating soup, and I liked using it to dip into the mashed potatoes and then into the beef with its red wine gravy, mushrooms, carrots and tiny bacon pieces, and have what I call the perfect bite, and it was.

We were there for a BYO wine tasting and dinner group that meets at different locations and our table started off with soup. All three were delicious, asparagus with egg and garlic (reminded me of egg drop soup), a classic french onion, and a squash soup. All were tasty (if you eat with me you share). Next we enjoyed our entrees. Every one about the place seemed happy with their choices once they arrived, and with a large group of thirty plus like ours it helped to have a more choices.

My husbands seafood crepe was good, and my friend was happy with her prosciutto panini choice. My friend and I noticed that I wore the same colors as the murals painted about the small bistro; which made you feel you just might well be eating along the streets of Paris. The chairs were comfortable with plenty of room at the tables; which can make or break an experience. There was outside seating as well.

There is always a complainer in the crowd I thought when the organizer told me some were not happy with the eating establishment like I was. The owners reputation can be slightly altered when food comes out table by table with such a large part, as many people were watching others eat, and getting dessert before their entrees even came out.

I blame that on the restaurant owners with their forty years of experience for not being more organized and creating a tasting menu if they do not have adequate staff in the back to produce timely platters for thirty people. They knew we were coming in advance. I looked in the kitchen to scope things out and had a nice chat with the cook. There was only one guy was working his rear off for all of us, But I would go back regardless. Thirty people do not normally walk in all at once!

Wine:This was a BYO group dinner, so there were various wines to choose from. We brought a bottle of light red table wine from Burgundy, and a bottle from our latest trip to the PNW, a San Juan Vineyard Merlot (unfortunately you have to go there to buy this bottle). My friend really liked the Gew├╝rztraminer from Alsace, but this is a fun way to try new wines.

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