Kitchen | Dish | Indy Week
Pin It


As the name suggests, the food here evokes the kind of kitchen you might have if you were a better, French-er version of yourself, a self with simple but impeccable taste and plenty of time on your hands to pickle your own vegetables and make your own terrine.

In the classic French bistro style, the menu is short, simple and devoid of trend and flash. The small plates—humble but exquisite dishes like grilled romaine with anchovies and caper berries ($8) and escargot in garlic cream ($10)—are lovely. You could easily make a meal from these elements without ever touching the main courses. But then you'd miss out on gorgeously understated dishes like seared salmon with green lentils and bacon ($17) and braised lamb shank with garlic mashed potatoes and steak frites ($18). The mussels and frites are especially satisfying and, at $13 a bowl, a genuine bargain. I'm a fan of the salty, leek-fragrant Basque version, one of four styles offered daily.

Desserts are equally simple: a toasted polenta pound cake with brown sugar sour cream ($5) and a crème brlée ($5).

The only off-note is the decor. The café's simplicity is undermined by oversized photomurals of the chef, along with wall-mounted signed T-shirts. Stuff like this might make sense in a celebrity-driven mega-restaurant (think Emeril, Bobby Flay) but it's puzzling in a Chapel Hill neighborhood bistro.

Fans are undeterred; the restaurant often has a line out the door on weekend evenings. If you find yourself in this position, just head next door to wait at the new Flyleaf Books, another local business we're very much hoping will succeed.

Tags: ,

  • Best suited for: Francophiles who don't mind standing in line for truly comforting bistro food

Related Locations


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Dish

  • Candy crush: Celebrating the Triangle's sweet tooth

    Candy crush: Celebrating the Triangle's sweet tooth

    Once you've tasted artisanal chocolate, sans the chemicals and preservatives, eating a Snickers bar is like drinking Folgers, and chasing it with a bottle of Rhinelander and a shot of Cutty Sark.
    • Dec 4, 2013
  • Escazu's new line of micro-batch chocolates

    Escazu's new line of micro-batch chocolates

    Escazu's micro-batch bars replicate the distinct flavors of the shop's four popular drinking chocolates: Spain, Xochiaya (Mexico), Italy and France.
    • Dec 4, 2013
  • Loaded for (Gummy) bear

    Loaded for (Gummy) bear

    Off Departure Drive in Raleigh, Derek and Brett Lawson manufacture the World's Largest Gummy Bear, weighing in at 5 pounds.
    • Dec 4, 2013
  • More »

Twitter Activity


Waraji, yes....I can't believe Sushi Blues and Cow Fish made the list. Harris Teeter has better sushi that these both …

by Michael Anderson on The best sushi in the Triangle (Dish)

La Piazza Pizza is second to none the best

7277 N Carolina 42, Raleigh, NC 27603

A Pure …

by goodfood85 on Pizza! On the hunt for the Triangle's best pies (Dish)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation