Lunch In @ Cafe de Paris

The first time I went to Cafe de Paris - a small place on beautiful Garfield Place just a block away from the main branch of the Public Library - I thought it was very good.  My second visit was not as impressive, but it's comfortable vibe and prime location makes it a lunch choice worth knowing about for downtowners.

The Food:  It smells great when you walk into Cafe de Paris, and what I remember most from my first visit was the freshness of the food.  I asked for whatever they thought was the best tasting thing on the menu, and they gave me a chicken salad sandwich with brie cheese, greens, green peppers, sprouts, and tomato on a fluffy baguette.  It came with a simple, fresh Greek salad that had a light vinaigrette, crumbled feta, banana and green peppers, red onion, tomato, and olive.  The baguette was light and crusty, and there was an earthy flavor from the brie.  But, it quite simply was not as flavorful as I'd hoped.  Less bread and more ingredients probably would have helped, and it definitely was not bad.  I just had a memory in my head of all that freshness adding up to very flavorful food, and in this case it was not to be.

The Ingredients:  Nothing on the menu about local or organic ingredients.  It was a quick stop in for lunch - I'll have to ask more when I go back.

The Story, Setting, & Service:  Cafe de Paris has a cute, comfortable inside seating area - a mix of colorful large canvas paintings and photography prints adorn the walls.  There is bar seating as well, and patrons can also sit outside at a handful of tables on the sidewalk.  Most diners appeared to be crossing the street to the large area in the middle of Garfield Place that has seating, landscaped gardens, and is a wifi spot.

The staff at Cafe de Paris is very nice - another of the breed of restaurants in the city which I so appreciate: where the people actually appear to enjoy working there.  I've been reading Heat by Bill Buford, which is in part about his adventures at Mario Batali's Babbo.  The machismo lore of restaurant kitchens simply does not appeal to me at all.

The Last Bite:  I'll head back to Cafe de Paris for the atmosphere and the shady, quite location.  But, I won't be returning often unless my next experience with the food improves.  Especially with Jean-Robert's Table scheduled to open soon or later just around the corner, this could be a nice little hub for French-inspired choices in Cincinnati.

Cafe de Paris on Urbanspoon


Ryan Ostrander said...

Haven't been in a while, but have yet to be disappointed by the folks at Cafe de Paris. We'll have to make a point of going again soon to see if it's still as good as I remember.

Gavin DeVore Leonard said...

Right on man - when Sarah and I get back from vacation let's make a date...

Ryan Ostrander said...