I usually don't post on these type of restaurants (there are great food blogs, publications, and of course Chowhound to keep you abreast). But on our last visit to Cafe Chloe, I wasn't able to resist ordering something from the menu that I was itching to for a while.....
Located in East Village, this little Bistro has become a favorite of the Missus, and especially of Her "ladies who do lunch crowd").
And other than some rather normal blips in service(when you spend at least $50/60+ for lunch or$70+ for dinner for two, you tend to be a bit more picky), we have always had nice meals at Cafe Chloe. Most of the offerings seem both rich, and yet light at the same time. And of all the gratines, tartines, and amandines (yes, I know it's just a topping of almonds, but it just sounded right), the Missus adores the Meatloaf when it is offered as a daily special. Sorry to say, no meatloaf today.
Call us predictable, but we always start with basically the same two appetizers, well kinda, sorta, as you'll see. We always get the Charcuterie Du Jour - today it was a wonderfully rich, yet balanced Pork Rillette, a wonderful pork spread, appropriately sealed with a layer of fat on the top.
The mustards and pickles help to cut the richness. We're talking serious good here. No it won't assault your tastebuds with a ton of different flavors going everywhere, but it will make you go "mmmmm".
The Missus enjoys the Tarte Flambe, a classic flatbread, topped with a smear of crème fraîche, caramelized onions, and bacon........ Need I say more????
Though I find the bread a bit on the thick side for a tarte, this is a nicely balanced offering. The bacon, thick sliced, is a far cry from the sodium loaded stuff you buy in packages. If anything, it was bit too mild for my tastes, but the Missus loves this, and orders it everytime. and of course, there are the mixed greens that seems to be on almost every plate.....
The Missus went with the Tartine du Jour - the open faced sandwich of the day. In this case it was a Curried Chicken Tartine:
Before grabbing a bite of this, I really didn't have my hopes up. It was however, very good, it looked over-dressed in mayo, but was not. A great combination of flavors and textures. And I really thought the bread was perfect for this, slightly nutty, with a mild hint of sweetness. I believe that Cafe Chloe gets their bread from Sadie RoseBaking Company, whose products I love. The pasta salad was dressed with a nice balsamic vinegar based concoction, but the pasta was hard and brittle. I guess I just expected a bit more.
So why am I doing a post on Cafe Chloe? Well there's something on the menu that I've been wanting to try......
Banh Mi??? In a French inspired Bistro....why not? I mean Banh Mi is undoubtedly French inspired, so why not.... it'll be like going "Back to the Future"!!! I love Banh Mi, and have probably eaten my share of them. And at least for me; it's a far cry from a French Baguette Sandwich to a Banh Mi, though I do think most things would taste better in a Banh Mi, even uni....umm oursins.
This was a case of the sum not being equal to its parts, and has probably been the only item I've been totally disappointed with at Cafe Chloe. Each item taken individually was good; I loved the crusty baguette, but it was too hard for a Banh Mi, in which the bread stars by being light, airy, and more flakey than crusty. The pate was nice, but very mild, and was totally lost in the sandwich. The Do Chua, the pickled vegetables which adds a crunch along with a palate cleansing flavor were replaced by a variety of greens. There were too many veggies in this, and the watercress and other greens were too bitter, and with the radishes, overwhelmed the entire sandwich, I couldn't even taste the aioli. There is always a nice savory component to a good Banh Mi which was missing here.
There's alot on the menu to enjoy at Cafe Chloe, steak frites, duck confit, the meatloaf the Missus will kill for. I'm sure we'll be back soon; the Missus would eat here a couple of times a week if She could. I won't be ordering the Banh Mi again, though......
721 Ninth Ave
San Diego CA 92101