Ate at Craigie Street Bistrot last night with a friend - it's in the neighbourhood, we were in the mood for French, etcetc.
The prix fixe "steal" of the night was the pate de campagne, steak, and a bowl of cherries. Since my friend and I decided that that was perhaps too much meat (and cherries? I'm sure they were fabulous and all, but cherries I can buy at the market), we decided to order three appetizers (esp. since I have what we have termed 'dining ADD' - or, the extreme fondness of small plates type of places, where I can have a nibble of everything and hit a pleasant fullness, rather than consuming an entire entrée which just gets boring and where I usually end up stuffed).
The first appetizer was the pate de campagne. First the accompagnements were brought out - 3 half cornichons (sliced lengthwise), some potent Dijon mustard, sauteed (I think?) shallots, fleur de sel, ground black pepper, and a bit of salad. Then the pate was sliced from the container it was prepared in. It was lovely in the mouth, wonderful spread on the bread we had received earlier. Only wish that there had been more cornichons to nibble on.
Second were the eggs en cocotte, served with black truffles and oyster mushrooms. There were two eggs in the shallow ramekin, wonderfully soupy in the centre, with the whites starting to solidify around the edges. Great for dipping bread, warm and pleasant, a little rich, but then again they were supposed to be. Happiness was.
Third were the rillettes de porc. I'm not sure what I was exactly expecting, but it wasn't two little (about thrice the size of a silver dollar) patties, on a bed of dressed salad. They were okay, a little dry and underseasoned.
Dessert was a fruit crisp, with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. Wish there had been more crisp, as that's my favourite part, but it was a great dish nonetheless. Strawberries and blueberries were the stars (as well as some other fruit I didn't pay too much attention to), and it was served nice and warm.
Service was pleasant, if a bit slow at times. Inquiries whether we were happy with our choices accompanied each appetizer. Water refills were frequent enough. As the night progressed, the room got increasingly louder, to the point where I couldn't hear my friend across the table if she was speaking at a normal volume and wasn't leaning in.
Dinner came to around $65, with tip and one glass of wine for me. It was good, but not overly impressive... pleasant, not stunning. It's a warm glow kind of place, but not a spark. Best cheap trip to France? Not so sure..