Live a Little … or a Whole Lot
Le Troquet serves French fare and fine wine
Which isn't to say there aren't deals to be had, especially at lunch. These days you can easily drop 10 bucks on casual dining and even fast food—so spending just past that to treat yourself to high-end cuisine is really a no-brainer. The typical lunch crowd seemed to appreciate a slow, deliberate meal, so don't expect turnover of tables. Still, once you're sat, you're set—so call ahead. The free rolls they start you with are crusty, served warm, with a sliced pocket perfect for a pat of butter. Drinks of the non-alcoholic sort are typical of a true European bistro, though they do have canned soft drinks too. But if you can manage it, dip into their small wine list, even if just for a glass.
For lunch, their croque madame ($10.25), a bistro standard, mixes béchamel with an over-easy yolk for a silky gravy that offsets the crunch of the bread crust and the sublime brûlée-d Swiss cheese on the sandwich's edges. It will take a knife and fork, but it's a moist bite, with ham sliced thin and a pinch of fresh parsley to top it off. It comes with a soft-tossed side salad in a creamy dressing that shares an anchovy note you'd usually find in fresh Caesar dressing. The greens are a mix of butter lettuce and very mild spring greens including arugula, and the whole thing is topped with some pickled red onions. The poulet cordon bleu ($15) is a sturdy chicken breast pounded thin, wrapped around a center of ham and Swiss, then flash-fried to a crisp shell. It comes smothered in a white wine, butter, garlic and mushroom sauce that's worth the price of admission itself. Each bite has texture, luscious salt and deep cream throughout: a truly great plate. Haricot verts, some tri-color cooked carrots and a rice pilaf with stewed tomatoes and more thin, sauteed white mushrooms accompany it, and it's a portion that's generous enough to share.
As a special occasion, Le Troquet delivers, though at a cost. However, value-hounds can sniff out a first-rate meal that doesn't break the bank both at lunch or for a light supper. It's an approach that will surely win over new diners, because the only thing better than a moveable feast is one that leaves a few francs in your pocket.
228 Gold Ave. SW
Hours: Lunch: 11:30am-2pm; Dinner: 5:30pm-9pm; Closed Sundays and Mondays
Alibi Recommends: Poulet cordon bleu, seared diver scallops Provençal, some wine and reservations.
Vibe: Traditional, restrained and elegant—try a lunch, then surprise your special someone with a dinner.