We had an exceptionally good meal at Cafe Rouge the other night.
To start I had chickpea soup, fresh chickpeas cooked with a ham bone and pureed fine ($6). Reminiscent of split-pea soup, only better. Others had an avocado stuffed with crab, papaya, and jicama ($9.25), and a sort of spanakopita-like warm chard, artichoke, and ricotta tart ($9.50).
Entree, I had hardwood-grilled quail with a couple of duck sausages (which included nuts--pistachios?) with some sort of little mushrooms, a cabbage cake, and a mushroom sauce ($18). Others had fabulous grilled shrimp with grilled entive and I forget what else ($22) and spit-roasted leg of lamb with polenta ($19). Drank a nice 1996 Hubert de Montille red Burgundy from Beaune Imports ($45).
Desserts, shared a custard-filled almond cake sort of like gateau Basque ($7), strawberry panna cotta ($7), and macaroons ($3.50).
I think the place is better than ever, and probably the best price-quality ratio among higher-end Berkeley / Oakland restaurants. Certainly it's a much better value than Eccolo.
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