Start a romantic evening with a Dungeness crab cake with aioli, caper, lemon, and coleslaw ($15) and a bowl of the soup of the day ($10). Eye entrees like the soft and succulent roasted half chicken with fingerling potatoes, haricots verts, mixed wild mushrooms, and pearl onions ($24) and the braised short ribs with polenta, Swiss chard, and salsa verde ($25). Complete the circle of life by burying your fork in a slice of key lime pie with guava puree and mango sorbet ($10) or the chocolate chocolate chocolate trio ($16), whose richness is so deadly it was, until recently, banned by nonproliferation treaties. If you've recently cycled through Fraiche and think you've tasted it all, try the new lunch menu. The chopped salad with Italian cured meats, tomato, provolone, and chick peas ($13) and the Moroccan lamb sausage sandwich with harissa aioli ($13) offer just the right noontime spice-kick to erase your morning malaise.
Bistro Laurent shows off authentic French delicacies in its relaxed yet stylish dining space, festooned with elegantly framed vintage photographs. Armed with the bistro’s dinner menu, diners can bid bienvenue to the bavette à la Bordelaise ($14.75), a succulent hanger steak finished in a cabernet and onion balsamic reduction. Or, sink your mouth bones into one of the bistro's signature crepes, such as the Florentine, an edible envelope stuffed with spinach, smoked turkey breast, béchamel, parmesan, and elf wishes ($7.75). On the lunch menu, the biquet salad proudly brandishes its crest, emblazoned with goat cheese, grilled chicken, seasonal fresh berries, and grilled pecans ($5.95). Bistro Laurent's robust wine list offers complements for any meal and high praise for any diner who can correctly identify the tannins in a bottle of merlot.
Diners at Meet are encouraged to share dishes by the on-staff mom trying to raise upstanding progeny. Politely split an appetizer such as cheese fondue (serves two, $14) or Meet's beets, served with goat cheese and honey-champagne vinaigrette ($10). The moules frites (mussels) come five ways, including au Roquefort (garlic, shallots, Roquefort, chives, and cream) and à la moutarde ancienne (tomato confit, mustard, tarragon, and cream) ($10 for the appetizer, $16 for entree). Pair a side of potato gratin or pommes puree ($5 each) with a classic of French cuisine like cabernet-braised short ribs ($22.95). The planche à fromages (assorted imported cheeses, $11) or pot of chocolate fondue (serves two, $12) brings the meal full circle like a Frisbee thrown into the wind. For a traditional finishing touch, try the tarte tatin (puff pastry, red apples, and caramel, $7).
One sunny afternoon, Ginnie Lu and her friends sat in a café sipping hot drinks and chatting about how much they would love to run their own tea and coffee house. When the group realized that they had the means to carve their dream into reality, they spent the next two years saving and planning. Finally, in 2010, they opened Four Leaf Tea Room, a cozy enclave where guests can sip specialty brews amidst the aromas of sweet and savory crepes. Mugs of oolong and chrysanthemum keep fingers warm during the year's cooler temperatures, and when the summer returns, they cool down with iced teas and mango freezes on an outdoor patio.
Despite Four Leaf’s name, its upscale, innovate crepes force its teas to share the limelight. A chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu dreams up the lavish fillings, pairing smoked salmon and caper-herb cream or soy-marinated chicken with crushed peanuts for savory meals. Sweet versions make use of exotic ingredients such as red-wine-poached pears, candied pecans, taro paste, and gelato. As guests fork into these creations, they can admire walls decorated with spring-green leaves and shelves filled with loose-leaf blends and prehistoric fossils of steam from early teas.
Now in its third generation of management, Taix satisfies the palates of Franco-feasters with a menu of country cuisine presented in generous portions. Begin the edible expedition with a bowl of traditional french onion soup ($6.95), or start with a half-dozen escargots in garlic butter ($12.95), which arrive at tables still modestly dressed in their shells to accommodate prudish American attitudes toward gastro-nudity. Leaf lovers can focus their forks on an assortment of salads, such as a mélange of baby greens, sesame-seed dressing, tomatoes, and bell peppers topped with a boneless chicken breast ($12.95), and carnitarians can seek out the proteined pleasures of grilled skirt steak with lemon parsley butter and pommes frites ($18.95). Roasted fresh salmon is served with champagne cream ($19.95) to permit taste buds to toast their good fortune, and a savory schedule of daily specials allows mouths to keep track of what day it is without chewing on a calendar. Midday munchers can sate their cravings with a lunch menu sporting an array of sandwiches and other selections suited to daytime dining.