Thanks for all of the recs. Price was the deciding factor. We had a lovely evening at Metro Cafe on Divis and Page - a $15 prix fixe menu!
Seated immediately by a rather harried waiter (he was solo on the floor with at least twenty folks seated). Polite, French, rushed. We were given a basket of sliced sourdough and pre-packaged butter and some water that was nice and lemony. The table was probably 2' x 2' so it was a tad crowded already.
We informed him we were here for the prix fixe menu. I was a bit disappointed to find out it was chef's choice, not ours, but jeez, who's to complain about $15?
Three courses: Turnip Soup (or a salad), Roasted Chicken and a dessert of Bread Pudding. They had a number of specials hand written on chalk boards (braised leg of lamb, scallops, artic char, wild salmon) but we didn't get the rundown obviously. See link below for their menu.
The soup was nice, creamy, good turnip flavor. Bit peppery, which I liked. Nice stock undertones.
The roasted quarter chicken was a leg-thigh joint in a pan drippings, with bacon and mushrooms. Rich, smokey, yummy. Meat was a tad pink at the bone, which I also liked. A small, piped tower of creamy mashed potatoes, nice foil to the rich sauce. Two spears of asparagus and two baby carrots, both served crossed in an 'x' next to the chicken. Good presentation, fresh flavors.
The dessert was interesting, though a bit bland. Pretty to look at. Two small 'disks' of bread pudding (cooked in small ramekins, removed and sliced in half width-wise). Very subtle, nice texture, good carameliztion on the top half. They swam in a pool of what tasted like a creme anglaise and a raspberry coulis. Three fanned slices of strawberries and a mint sprig.
We brought (an impressive bottle of) Kendall Jackson Cabernet 2000 Vitner's Reserve with us.
Prix fixe, corkage, coffees and tip came to $56 for two.
All in all, very satisfying for the Romance part. Intimate, quite enough to chat comfortably, waiter was pleasant (his being French made it ever so charming), subtle French music in the background, lovely room, lots of locals and return customers based on the waiter's interactions. We'll return, for sure. Kinda like being in Europe for a couple of hours!
I want to try the others now:
Firefly $27 prix fixe
Chapeau! $20 PF before 6 p.m.
Le Charm PF for $25
Other 'romance on a budget' mentions:
Pomolo on Church/30th