After watching my fifth college basektball game of the day, and Big Red waking up from a beauty nap, we were relaxing and trying as usual to come up with a place to go. You know where they serve you food, on Saturday night, around oh say 8 o'clock or so. We trotted out our usual criteria: not being bored with it, nearby, good, not a budget buster.
Big Red had remarked a couple weeks ago, she drove by Le Charm on Fifth. This area is becoming increasingly populated with a Whole Foods store and other neighborhood niceties. I'm working on coming up with nicknames for the area. StuCo Enterprises is in the proccess of registering: LoMa, (Lower Market), WhoFoo, and FiMiHa (Fifth between Mission and Harrison).
We called LeCharm, and they had a walk-in (more later), or a reservation at nine.
We took the reservation, but got arrived earlier and were offered the walk-in table. At the end of the hall, near the kitchen. We'd wait, but it was not long.
In the corner sat a crowd of tourists or bridge and tunnel crowd, with a birthday, snapping pictures. Please try to look like you've eaten out before. I don't begrudge anyone a picture, but you're not doing a documentary on your meal Ansel Adams, put the camera away.
On to the Chow. The call here is the prix fixe. Anyone who knows me, know I know a food bargain when I see one. Twenty-five is a nice round price.
Appetizers are an excellent to start your meal. Big Stu got a tasty cheesy French onion soup, not overpowering. Red went for a smoked salmon salad with capers.
Entrees were sizable, salmon with mashed potatoes, and a rich brown sauce. The bread crumbs on top provided a nice addition to the salmon. The large plate even included spinach, so you can tell your parents you ate your vegetables.
Red enjoyed a workman-like steak and frites. It's a classic bistro dish, and here it is well executed.
Deserts. Although I complained earlier of photos taken in restaurants, when I travelled in France we by chance wound up taking pictures. And it always occurred to my brother to take them during deserts. So there is a series, enough to fill a gallery at SFMOMA of Big Stu eating chocolate deserts. Mousse is good, good is mousse.
Red was steered by the competent and helpful wait staff to a pear tart.
Two dinners, some wine for Red and a beer for Stu -- total tab $80. A nice warm, comfortable neighborhood place.
We estimated that a restaurant which was on our "aproved vendor list" could garner $500 - $1,000 a year if we eat there once a month or every other month. Le Charm has been added to that list.
It appears to be in the tradition of French/Parisian bistro. Husband and wife team, husband does the cooking, wife runs the front of the house (feminists rejoice).
They have a lovely patio for when the weather is more hospitable. They are French without being snotty. There is an old saying the French don't like Americans. It's wrong, the Parisian don't like anyone, heck they don't even like themselves. But we like them, or more to the point, their food.
315 Fifth St. (Folsom St.)
San Francisco, CA 94107
Here is an interesting interview with the chef/owner
www.hertzmann.com/articles/2000/lecharm/ - 5k