La Poste chef, Dave Taylor, has crafted a menu of inventive dishes served with unconventional and delicious sides, as well as myriad quality wines. As in epistolary matters, the menu at La Poste is divided into Postage, Salutation, Body, and Postscript. Fritter away the premeal wait with a "postage" choice of ricotta fritters adorned with candied orange, bathed in black-truffle oil, and served with baby arugula ($7). Hungrier diners can upgrade to the succulent sausage in brioche, served with bacon, frisee, and brown butter ($10), with the option of delivery confirmation from a contented stomach. Amid the trellised windows and casual-but-tasteful arrangements of the restaurant, a glass of pinot noir from Gerard Bertrand ($9) sets off a plate of grilled salmon served with a smoked-paprika ratatouille and simmered in a buerre-rouge sauce ($18).
Since 1985, Alex's Bistro on Reed has charmed diners with its seasonal take on American and European classics. These days, under the leadership of German-born and -trained chef Daniel Kern, the bistro's menu narrows its focus to French and Italian flavors. Using natural meats and sustainable seafood, Daniel pairs 8-ounce filet mignons with blue cheese potatoes and crowns risotto with a full pound of Maine lobster. Both dishes, like a bulk of Daniel's menu, are gluten free, and several other courses can be prepared without gluten. Whether gluten free or full, all feasts unfold within a spacious dining room rendered intimate with soft, romantic lighting.
A number of housemade sauces add depth to Through the Garden’s dishes. Sweet, smoky barbecue sauce glistens across each rack of ribs, basil-garlic butter softens the deep flavors of char-grilled chicken breast, and garlic-dill sauce pools around the edges of crab cakes, proving that gravity may in fact exist. Bright-yellow walls and wooden floors surround tables scattered with American meals, including Cajun scallops nestled in angel-hair pasta and homemade barbarosa burgers baptized with splashes of beer. Outside, a white fence cordons off the stone-paved patio with oversized umbrellas.
Bullwinkle’s Top Hat Bistro lures crowds with its baby-back ribs, smothered with handcrafted barbecue sauce and served with a salad and your choice of a tater or veggie side ($18.59 for a half slab). But because maneuvering through a plate of ribs with grace requires both physical and mental agility, give your fingers an opportunity to warm up with an order of the piled-high macho nacho ($8.99) or spicy buffalo-style bullwingers ($7.99 for one pound) while you visualize winning a game of Sudoku. Bullwinkle’s menu also sports USDA-choice steaks ($12.99–$21.99) cooked to order, fresh seafood dishes and daily specials ($14.99+), and skillfully tossed pastas ($10.99) and more. If you'd like to keep your love affair with barbecue hidden, but your personal safe is already full of Gigli posters and Goosebumps novels, have saucy sustenance served secretly between two carb slices by ordering a specialty burger ($6.59–$8.59) or sandwich such as the barbecue-chicken melt with monterey- jack cheese ($6.99).
La Petite France's proprietor, Daniele Crandall, grew up in France, where she spent her youth working in family restaurants before emigrating to the United States in 1964. She stayed in touch with her roots by teaching French to students before eventually deciding that it was time to return to the kitchen with her family members.
Today, they bustle among pots of steaming port with sun-dried tomatoes—which will become a demi-glace for duck—and crackling skillets of salmon, endives, shallots, and white wine. They plate filet mignon and pâté that the Cincinnati Enquirer said “has a nice rustic texture, more like a fine meatloaf than a liver pâaté, with a hint of clove or allspice. Little sour cornichon pickles accompany it, just as they do in thousands of bistros and restaurants all over France.” Beneath glittering chandeliers, the glow of fireplaces dances across tables clad in white tablecloths, like a maitre d’ who forgot his uniform. A stained-glass mural depicts the idyllic charm of Peillon in Provence, France, as diners sup on three-course dinners, enjoy tastings of California wines, or sip cocktails and listen to live music during catered banquets.