For years, one of the best kept dining secrets in Downtown was La Quiche Parisienne. A small patio and cozy storefront tucked into the Fourth Street Mall, it was a touch off the beaten path but always worth the search. Then they closed, and the city turned Fourth back into a street, and gone were those delicious days. Or so I thought. Then I stumbled on to their new location in the Mountain Run Shopping Center. But as is so often the case, I worried that with a change of location might come a change in the fundamentals of what originally made the place great. I had to find out.The new space is far more airy and polished—we’ll call it “elevated European farmhouse”—with high ceilings, a rustic but refined feel, warm woods, elegant polishes of shining glass and earthy-toned wall-sized graphics of street scenes in Paris. They do a brisk Sunday brunch, so expect a short wait. Or if you’d prefer, their to-go was quick even with a full restaurant, and well packed for travel—making for a slow, easy and refined brunch at home. For me, catching a late lunch was far more relaxing, with no wait to be seated and hardly any bustle. The downside was all the fresh-baked sweets had already been picked over—not that there are any bad treats on offer.First was one of their Sunday Specials—the poached eggs Benedict ($13). Instead of an English muffin, the Benedict is served on a soft-crusted, lightly toasted bun. What on the face seemed a dull choice from such a terrific bakery was actually the perfect vehicle for the silky yolk, and the superb hollandaise sauce—the subtle citrus putting it heads and shoulders above the competition. The fresh European mix of greens on the salad served up with a creamy mustard vinaigrette was sumptuous and, based on salt it might’ve got from anchovies, make it a homerun for anyone who’s a fan of freshmade Caesar dressing. But the star of breakfast was the omelette Parisienne ($10)—it was my backup choice, and am I glad I had to “settle” for it when they were out of my first. The folded eggs encased the cubed ham, the bacon and the Swiss cheese—trapping the salt and lipids in its own luxurious sauce. It came with a small, hard-crusted roll and was dusted with fresh-chopped herbs—simple but utterly perfect in flavor and execution. It was plenty, but wisely leaves some room for bigger appetites to dabble in something sweet for dessert. I took an Americano to drink ($2.75), a sturdy cup of coffee courtesy of their local source, Red Rock Roasters.For lunch you could do a lot worse than the croque madame ($10.50), even in Paris! La Quiche Parisienne’s version takes two hunks of white bread, a silky béchamel sauce, then melts Swiss with a few thin slices of ham. Served with an egg on top, it’s a bistro standard, and truly indistinguishable from some of the finest you might get just off the Champs-Élysées. But seeing as we’re in America, you can take a small basket of fries as your side instead of the side salad. Having tried both, I recommend whichever grabs your fancy, as they’re both solid. The French country pâté sandwich ($14)—is every bit as surprising as it sounds. An unexpectedly thick cut of pâté, moist and earthy, plus the quick bite of horseradish in the Dijon, and the briny burst of cornichons are like fireworks for the senses. Served with sliced tomatoes and a clutch of greens, all on top of a perfectly crusty baguette. It’s a testament to simplicity, and with either the fries or the side salad, makes for a perfect midday meal. If it’s a hot day, I’d add a glass of ice-cold Kronenbourg 1664 and leave full, misty-eyed and happy. If it’s chilly, they also offer up a couple N.M. wines, Marble’s Red, and a super affordable wine list, with no bottle above $40.Of course, you can’t leave without taking some delightful baked goodies. The trio mousse ($5) is three luscious layers, big on chocolate flavor without the assault of too much sugar. The white, milk and dark layers look dense, but are light and luxurious as they melt away. The cinnamon roll ($2.70) is a crowd-pleaser, light on the cinnamon, but long on sweet iced and baked deliciousness. The three-fruit danish had sliced strawberries, a cluster of raspberries and another of blueberries, clung to the danish with a sweet, custard-like vanilla cream. So go on, get one … you deserve it!Just like that, what was the best kept secret in Downtown has become the best kept dining secret in the Northeast Heights. Owners Sabine and Bruno have not only taken everything terrific about their old shop with them, they’ve expanded their menu and their operation intelligently. For those familiar with the old spot, everything is just as you remember. And for those of you new to La Quiche Parisienne, dépêche-toi!?
La Quiche Parisienne5850 Eubank Blvd., Ste. 17242-2808laquicheparisiennebistro.comHours: Mon-Sat 8am-3pm, Sun 8am-2pmAlibi Recommends: The omelette Parisienne, a croque madame and a cinnamon roll or something sweetVibe: Elevated European farmhouse with high ceilings and a rustic, refined feel built on warm woods and elegant polishes.