Given that I live practically within walking distance of this, it took me forever to finally make it to dinner at Cafe de Paris in Columbia. I'll definitely be back.
The owner, Erik Rochard, greeted Katy and I at the door by saying "Bonjour! Are you hungry?" We both answered "Yes!," and he scampered off to find us a table.
There were specials on the appetizer menu, but we went for the standards. Katy had mussels in cream sauce and I had escargot still sizzling in garlic butter. Both were delicious. As Katy reached the end of her appetizer, Rochard came running up and told her to get busy and finish them, so I joined in to help.
We ordered both entrees from the specials list. Katy had lamb chops, served with a delicious brown sauce and accompanied by field greens and a tower of roasted potato slices layered with warm goat cheese. I had caramelized scallops, seven huge pieces surrounding a mound of garlic mashed potatoes topped with fresh spinach.
For dessert Katy had the warm chocolate cake that failed to impress Sietsma, but being a hard core chocoholic she thought it was magnificent. I had a warm whole pear, poached in wine and dipped in chocolate, served with two small scoops of vanilla ice cream.
The service was lackluster, although I think it was our particular waiter. The table next to us was getting first class service all the way from a different server. I wanted to ask for a change.
My other concern is with the restaurant being able to make a go of it in that particular location. It's known for failed restaurants, and even though the cafe has a loyal fan base, we had no trouble getting a last minute table at 8 pm on a Saturday night. That's a time when you'd have an hour long wait at one of Columbia's everpresent chains. The last seating is at 10 pm, but it was already that late as we finished our meal. While many of the tables were full when we arrived, at 10 we among the last three tables still eating.
The prix fixe (appetizer, entree and dessert) including all specials as well as the regular menu, is around $33 a person. Katy doesn't drink, but I had two glasses of wine, making our total bill around $75. I thought it was a bargain
Cafe de Paris is not a perfect restaurant by any means, but it's very good, and a shining star in Columbia.