Patrons who pass beneath Cafe Monte French Bakery and Bistro's bold red awning seemingly zoom across the Atlantic into a Parisian bistro hung with French artwork and vintage photographs. Platters of mussels arrived drenched in white wine and butter, and pommes frites proudly share the spotlight with steak and french green beans. In the kitchen, chefs sizzle crêpes to a golden brown for breakfast, or fill them with savory lobster and crab for lunch and dinner. Patrons can dine alfresco on an outdoor patio or linger inside the eatery's canary-hued walls, where satisfied customers gather around a piano to sing odes to their favorite French pastry chefs.
Georges Brasserie’s executive chef Andrew Dodd conjures hearty platters of French-influenced fare infused with upscale flair. From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. noshers can choose from the full-service lunch menu with its classics such as the croque-madame ($9) and trout served with almonds, roasted potatoes, haricot verts, and brown butter sauce ($13). Fromage and charcuterie platters ($11–$14) dazzle taste buds with local cheeses and a rotating daily selection of house-made charcuterie. Patrons can also go with something from the lighter and quicker bistro menu, such as white wine mussels and frites ($9), soup and salad ($7), or Georges Philly ($9), in which sliced new york strip steak mingles with sautéed peppers in a three-cheese mornay sauce for a French take on the Philadelphia classic.
Executive chef and owner Jim Alexander has created an upscale dining experience worthy of a world-class New York or London eatery, with a menu of contemporary French cuisine that remains accessible to all diners. Educated at New York’s Culinary Institute of America, Alexander has been widely recognized within the restaurant industry, including earning a stint on the 1996 gold-medal-winning US Culinary Olympic Team. His mastery of the kitchen shines not only in the well-flavored meals, but also in Zebra’s characteristic artistic presentation. Most dishes benefit from ambitiously sculpted food combinations, each a brilliant array of colors, shapes, and textures.
Rev your appetite engine with an elegant, Southern-style appetizer such as seared NC scallops with succotash and tarragon beurre blanc ($12). For a main course, sup on another Dixie delight, such as the jumbo shrimp-n-grits with bacon and midnight moon tomato ($28), or opt for a more-universal slab of USDA prime beef—the 14-ounce rib-eye is served seared the way you like it and slathered in meaty deliciousness ($29). If you'd like to keep your meal as light as a globetrotting eccentric's hot-air balloon, have a basil-pesto, hand-tossed personal pizza (with feta, artichokes, and Peppadew peppers, $7) or fried-oyster salad (with egg, bacon, and balsamic, $14). Click here to see the full lunch, dinner, and dessert menus.
Toast Café's resident chefs greet early and midday birds with a menu of New York–style brunch. Reward early rising appetites with the Sunrise burrito ($5.95), which ferries a triumvirate of scrambled egg whites, brie, and avocado into drowsy mouths. All manner of fresh fixins get wrapped up in an egg blanket on the omelet menu. The Northwestern regales taste buds with goat cheese and fresh herbs ($8.95), and the greek omelet, with its savory mélange of fresh spinach, tomatoes, and feta ($8.95), makes palates pop with an attic flavor combination more authentic than eating a kalamata olive wrapped in a first edition of The Odyssey. The eatery festoons tables with an updated take on a classic sandwich with the Left Coast BLT with a splash of avocado and slices of brie piled between slices of wheat bread ($8.95).