Found lots of recs but no recent reports, so I thought I'd write up my dinner from last night...
In short - really lovely, unpretentious, ungimmicky French food. While I adore Bay Area food, sometimes I get burned out on the Meyer lemon everything, and sometimes I don't really want to know the provenance of every ingredient on the plate. Alouette gave me that - delicious, well-cooked food that didn't need to be named, because the ingredients spoke for themselves.
Reservations were shockingly easy to get (and, in fact, unnecessary - the restaurant was probably 1/4 empty the whole time we were there.)
The star of the night, for me, was the app of Portugese sardines. Perfectly browned, crisply crusted, juicy! melt-in-your mouth, with a counterpoint of lightly dressed arugula. My main was the special of rabbit loin stuffed with spinach, served with baby turnips and carrots. Nothing super-innovative, just really well cooked. Dessert was an order of profiteroles, which were fine, but probably the weakest of the three desserts.
I also enjoyed tastes of my friends' meals - the phyllo-crusted shrimp with canellini beans and shrimp, the braised lamb, and the steak were all excellent. The pate was good, but could have used heftier toast points. The goat cheese tart suffered from a gummy crust (which also plagued the otherwise excellent lemon-orange tart), but the baby asparagus served with it were beautiful (the peeled stems were cut into tiny pieces and very faintly scented with truffle oil). The warm chocolate cake was perfect (may be a cliched dessert at this point, but I frankly don't seem to get tired of them).
Service was a little clumsy, but warm and friendly. Price was very reasonable - for 4 apps, 3 mains, three desserts, a veg side, 3 glasses of wine, 2 beers, and 1 espresso, plus tax+tip, it was $60/pp.
2588 Broadway bet 97th + 98th
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