Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cafe du Jour

There's a gem of a restaurant tucked away on the South Side. It's not a bar. They don't serve wings or burgers. There aren't a gazillion beers on tap. In fact, there isn't even any liquor sold  - it's BYOB. It's cash only. It's called Cafe du Jour.
I had dined at Cafe du Jour once before. It was back in 2002. Maybe 2003. Yes. That long ago. I remember because it was my birthday dinner and I'd never been there before and my friend brought a bottle of wine and while I don't recall what I ate, I do recall it being very, very good.
When we couldn't decide where to eat on Saturday, I started looking at food blogs, Pittsburgh restaurants, etc. It sounds silly - there are a lot of places I really enjoy, a lot of places I've never tried or haven't been back to in a long time, and yet... I was not feeling inspired. Until I remembered Cafe du Jour. I suggested it to SP. He was on board, he made a reservation, and off we went.
Cafe du Jour is wheelchair accessible. There is, however, one step up to the outdoor garden dining area. Since it's fall and there aren't too many gorgeous, warm, sunny days left and since I'd suggested the restaurant in part because I had heard about the lovely back garden dining area, we opted to sit outside. I'm so glad we did because it is so relaxing and peaceful. It's tucked away behind the restaurant, framed by red brick walls and greenery and a small water feature.

On to the food!
Daily Special Soup: Chicken and Rice Soup. I didn't try this - it was all SP's. He liked it a lot. It was creamy and light. We suspect it was creamy but not heavy because there was coconut milk and not cream in it.
My appetizer: Crostini with pork, brie, and apple butter. Oh my gosh. This easily is one of my all time favorite appetizers. Toasted, buttery, sesame seed slider roll halves piled with generous slices of pork, creamy brie, and apple butter. Pork + apple = always amazing. These crostini were amazing - they held everything, but were not themselves super heavy & filling, but instead airy and crispy. I could have ordered another serving and called 2 servings of this appetizer my dinner.

But I didn't. For my entree, I ordered the Chicken Breast stuffed with feta and spinach, herbs, roasted mushrooms, toasted polenta, tomato sauce, capers.
So good. The chicken was cooked through but still moist and juicy plus the skin was so deliciously crispy and sprinkled with herbs. I think it was fennel seeds that I really tasted, along with the briny capers. Lots of cheese & spinach.
SP chose the daily special entree: Pan Seared Trout. I think there was a mound of a 5 grain salad on his plate (I remember him talking about barley and wheatberries but I was too focused on my chicken to really listen to him talk about his grains). Two roasted tomatoes still attached to their vines. It was a large portion of trout and he was slowing down towards the end. He said it was delicious.
We were full but I wanted to hear the dessert options. Flourless Chocolate Cake or Raspberry Brown Butter Tart. We chose the Raspberry Brown Butter Tart.
Forget being full. This dessert was so good that we fought over who had more bites/bigger bites. I'm so glad the drizzle was a raspberry drizzle and not chocolate drizzle. One of my pet peeves is restaurants drizzling sauces over desserts. Sometimes it adds to the dessert, but I find that often, it's over kill. It adds too much goop, or too many flavors, or makes it too sweet. Sometimes simple is best. Moist, buttery, sweet with raspberry flavor - like my appetizer, one of the most enjoyable desserts I've had.

Cafe du Jour has been around for a while. I'm sad it's taken me 11-12 years to get back to it because the food is excellent, it's casual and relaxing, I like that it's BYOB ($2/stem), the outdoor space is terrific. Our server seemed to be handling all the tables and was very friendly, checked on garlic for me, and seemed to really like his job and be happy to be there. Every time he walked by us going between the kitchen and the tables, he seemed to be humming or singing. It was great!

Just remember - it's cash only. Our food + BYOB fee + tax came to $80 plus tip.

  Cafe Du Jour on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment