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Birmingham -- Cafe de Paris


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Birmingham -- Cafe de Paris

Big Daddy | Jul 12, 2010 08:20 AM

My wife and I went to Cafe de Paris Saturday, and enjoyed a good meal there. But I was shocked and a little sad to see the place was practically empty at 8 p.m. on a Saturday, especially on a day in which the chef/owners were the ones doing the cooking demonstration at Pepper Place.
For appetizers, I ordered beef carpaccio and my wife got the salad with the goat-cheese spring rolls. She really enjoyed hers. Mine was very nice-quality beef, not very marbeled, but plentiful and very good (I did have to salt it). It came with a salad in the middle of the plate that struck me as kind of odd.
On recommendation from our friendly, but not very experienced waiter, I got the lamb chops. I ordered them medium rare. They came out medium, but still tender and juicy. The chops -- five of them -- were stacked on top of the frites I ordered as a side. They soaked up the juices from the chops. The other side dish sounded great -- carrot flan -- but was so salty I barely noticed the minimal carrot flavor.
My wife, who is a vegetarian, ordered an entree-sized portion of the cheese ravioli appetizer. They were house-made, this day filled with bleu cheese and with a creamy sauce. Very rich but she enjoyed it both that night and for lunch the next day.
For dessert, we ordered a crepe with chocolate sauce. Since she likes white and I like dark chocolate, our waiter brought us both (nice touch).
Another thing that struck me as odd was the chef sent out an amuse bouche after we were eating the appetizers (I can't remember if we already had the entrees). I noticed this happening with the other tables (by the time we left, there were four tables filled, being served by two waiters).
The wine was very affordably priced -- bottles were slighly more than the cost of three glasses, and most bottles were under $40. But they were out of the Cotes du Rhone the waiter recommended as their special for the night, and he was worried they were out of the zinfandel we ordered (fortunately, they weren't and it was good).
All in all, it was a very pleasant evening. But I can't say it was $150 pleasant. I think the prices were a little high for the product and the service (especially the $14 for a goat-cheese spring roll salad and $8 for a few crepes and thimbles of chocolate sauce that may have cost $1 to put together -- but probably less). Entree prices were in the $20s and appetizers in the mid teens.
Our poor waiter ended up forgetting twice to bring us water. No big deal, except for whenit happens during a three-figure dinner.
I think it would be worth a return trip to check out the Sunday brunch or the happy-hour specials, with $5 small plates and desserts. But I don't know if I'd return for a three-course meal.

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