Spring Dinner at Caribou Cafe

Spring teased us about a week ago with a perfect day. It was sunny and almost 70 degrees. There’s nothing better than opening the windows, letting in that perfect warm air, and going for a walk in the city. We decided to go somewhere for happy hour, and dining al fresco was a no brainer. We were both in the mood for French cuisine, and decided to visit a place that we hadn’t been to in a while. Welcome to Caribou Cafe!

Caribou Cafe is a wonderful Parisian bistro located in center city. It’s owner and head chef is our good friend, Chef Olivier Desaintmartin. I did an exclusive interview with Chef Olivier last year, and we have remained good friends ever since. You can read the interview by clicking here.

The decor at Caribou Cafe certainly transports you back to Paris. It’s warm, inviting and quaint. It’s so relaxing, you really don’t want to leave. Since the weather was perfect this day, we chose a table outdoors. We were in for a big surprise. We were seated by our new friend and fellow wine lover, Meredith Magoon! We had no idea that she worked here!

As a quick recap, we met Meredith very recently at a wine and chocolate event. She is a representative for Direct Cellars wine club. I just wrote an article about her and one of their wines, and you can read it by clicking here. We were so excited to see her again this afternoon.

We started our happy hour with the two house specials, a wonderful French 75, and their specialty cocktail. Both were absolutely fantastic. For our food order, we tried their french fries with coq au vin gravy, veggie pizza, and a salmon rillettes slider. Can I just say that we will never want french fries again if they don’t have coq au vin gravy? They were delicious! The fries were perfectly cooked and they put the right amount of sauce over them. The veggie pizza was also fantastic. It was cooked perfectly and was loaded with veggies and mushrooms. The salmon rillettes slider was also delicious. It was so light and fresh. All three happy hour menu items were outstanding.

We were still a little hungry so we decided to order some more food. We ordered the soup du jour, which was a wonderful cream of rutabaga drizzled with creme fraiche. It was one of the best soups we had ever tasted. It had the perfect creamy consistency, and the flavor was wonderful.

Eric ordered escargots on a warm puff pastry, covered in a tomato and cream sauce. We can’t begin to describe how delicious this dish tasted. It was perfect. It was heaven on a plate. The balance of flavors between the escargots and sauce was so good. The puff pastry added that warm flaky richness to soak in the sauce. Every time we come here, we are ordering this dish.

For the finale, I ordered their homemade egg pappardelle. It consisted of asparagus, wild mushrooms, goat cheese, red beets and an herb sauce. I loved it. The size of the pappardelle was perfect because it just picked up all the other ingredients. The flavor and texture of the dish was wonderful. Everything we ordered was outstanding.

The surprises weren’t over yet. Chef Oliver sent out to us a wonderful mini dessert plate. It was so incredibly nice of him! He and the staff treated us so well. It’s no wonder why Caribou Cafe is one of our favorite restaurants. Try it soon, and I guarantee it will become a favorite of yours as well. Bon appetite!


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