The menu and décor at Bistro Maxine are strongly influenced by bona fide French cafés. Francophiles will appreciate Bistro Maxine's casual approach to dining for pretention-free lunches and carefree dinners in the flavorful form of authentic crêpes, soups, salads, sandwiches, espresso drinks, cocktails, and ice cream. Those hampered by hunger will find the pièce de résistance in the selection of soft, warm crêpes, freshly scooped from imported griddles. Each is stuffed with winning combinations such as the Chèvre, with goat cheese, mushrooms, and spinach ($9.00), or sweet concoctions such as banana and Nutella ($5) or the Normande ($7), a devilish blend of sautéed apples, Calvados, and rich crème fraiche. If you decide to sate this café, get totally Frenched with a kir royal (blackcurrant liqueur and champagne for $8) or a glass of house wine ($7). Or just drown sober worries with a bottle of house wine ($25).
La Bohème's chefs handcraft each meal using seasonal, local ingredients from organic farms, which fill the earth-toned restaurant with delicate aromas and contented sighs. The Paris-inspired café and full patisserie puts new pirouettes on classic dishes on a dinner menu that brims with dishes including the Assiette de la Marée, a grouping of six local oysters with a tangy mignonette sauce ($12). La Bohème's lobster bisque ($8) flaunts oceanic power as impressive as Poseidon's water wings, and diners delve deeply into a glass of Tangent sauvignon blanc ($9). Joyful teeth sink into the tenderness of the Jarret de Veau et Son Gratin, a cutlet of veal osso buco nestled up to delicate au gratin potatoes and ratatouille ($27). The more delicate lunch menu parades the Fisherman salad ($12), gleefully thrown fistfuls of Norwegian smoked salmon, roasted pepper, and dill dressing scattered across an adoring mass of veggies. Crêpes crowned with cherry compote, ice cream, and Nutella drop sweet curtains over filling events.
The expert crêpe-rollers at K's Crêpes & Café ladle organic batter onto the griddle, sizzle until golden brown, and adorn the ensuing concoction with savory toppings or house-made whipped cream. Delight a savory-toothed uncle with naturally gluten-free buckwheat crêpes such as the Chelsea, a delectable mound of chewy swiss cheese, sautéed zucchini, and crisp spinach ($6.95). Morning-time diners can wash down a whole-wheat sweet crêpe with a cup of Mr. Espresso and a dash of powdered sugar, or bite into the New England Revolution, which arrives laden with peaches, vanilla gelato, and chocolate sauce like a camel being ridden by Santa Claus ($6.75). Omelets ($4.50+), lunch-friendly sandwiches ($5.25+), and house-made soups ($3.50+) are also available throughout the day.
Vida Y Vino's dedicated wine experts work to accommodate aspiring sommeliers with perfect pairings of artisanal cheeses, entrees, and boutique wines from around the world. Duos or quartets of diners can sample flights or glasses of wine and their artisanal dairy counterparts while eye tasting an array of intriguing paintings or letting ears gobble up the sounds of the bistro's baby grand humming to itself. The cheese selections vary, with options including brie, goat cheese, cheddar, swiss, and provolone, all of which accompany sippable varietals including shiraz from South Africa or sauvignon blanc from Napa. Light entrees such as the brie-and-olive-tapenade panini or the ham-and-swiss crêpe also refresh taste buds between wines, preventing rival grapes from quarreling over tongue territory.
A native of Paris, Executive Chef Christian Nam-Hee sharpened his knife skills and his palate at l'Ecole de Paris des Métiers de la Table. Today he lets his know-how blossom and wander in the kitchen of Bijou Restaurant & Bar, blending the culinary traditions of his homeland with the flavors found in northern California's seasonal organic ingredients. From his pans and cutting boards spring forth sweet-potato frites, quail stuffed with napa cabbage, and other dishes that embody the menu's inventive fusion spirit. To complement such an aesthetically poignant dining experience, the space itself—designed by DesignPlus's Pia Thomas—remains sleek and focused. The centerpiece is the bar, which glows a dreamy, iridescent amber that's complemented by ring chandeliers and absorbed by Italian leather chairs, a lounge area's plush velvet cushions, and tabletop black holes.
European, Southeast Asian, and American culinary traditions all influence the unique fusion recipes at Vo's Restaurant. Vegetables and rice get simmered in traditional clay pots and prawns and lemongrass are seared in woks; there's even a deep-fried catfish filet with ginger-infused nouc mam, a dip made from fish sauce. The dining room is as colorful as the dishes, featuring warm red walls, bamboo sprouting from tall vases, romantic lighting overhead.