Would we go back:
1600 West Lake Street
• Warm olives, baguette $6 (shared)
• Cobb salad (greens, egg, bacon, chicken, haricots verts, bleu cheese) $11
• Seared scallops, haricots verts, fingerling potatoes, mushrooms $20
• Banana nutella (crepe) $6
Cafe Barbette is a funky Uptown place. I would think if I lived near there, I would probably pop in for a cup of coffee and/or dinner on a regular basis. I really liked the decor it was dark with funky lights and candles everywhere. It made for a nice place to go to unwind from a long day, the drive through Uptown or on a date. Dark and candlelight equal better looking people as we all know. If you are naturally good looking, you need not bother go here for that reason.
The food was also well done. The olives were good. Lots of variety and lots of them. The salad was also very good. Very good ingredients, prepared simply and lightly dressed. When the ingredients are as good as they are no need to hide them with dressings or sauces.
The same was true for my entree. It was the special of the night and each ingredient was top notch and well prepared, but not fussed up with sauces. I also had the opportunity to try Steve's fries and they were outstanding. If I lived near, I might come in occasionally just for them. The dessert was one of the more interesting desserts, I have had in while. I would not say it was great, but the combination was surprisingly good. Who would think nutella and bananas?
Overall, it was good, but I would probably not go back. Simply because I do not live in the neighborhood, and I hate driving through uptown.
• Steak au poivre, steak frites, haricots verts $24
• Flourless chocolate torte $5
We’ve lost too many good French restaurants in the Twin Cities over the past few years, and Cafe Barbette tries to fill the void. Cafe Barbette does well for those in need of a French food fix, but there are still better French choices available.
The warm olives and bread were surprisingly good. I know most people would balk at paying $6 for warm olives, but these are better quality, which justifies some of the additional cost. The rest of the cost would have to be internally justified. For example, you might prefer to enjoy lesser-processed foods, even if that means choosing olives over multiple ingredient starters.
The Cobb salad really shines at Cafe Barbette. The mixed greens went very well with all of the ingredients, which were excellent in their own right. The dressing was perfectly placed on each of the leaves, ever present but not overpowering.
The steak was fantastic. It was an 8-ounce New York Strip that was done just right, medium rate. The steak au poivre pepper was infused on one side only, avoiding the overly strong flavor that many restaurants serve. Like the dressing on the salad, the pepper was there, but not overpowering. The accompanying haricots verts were also tender and delicious. The mound of steak frites overwhelmed the plate. I could have eaten all of them, but I didn’t need that much and wanted to save room for dessert. The frites were good; though some might find them too greasy or too salty. I would have been happy with half as many frites and twice as many haricots verts (oh my, I must be getting old).
The flourless chocolate torte was made from high quality chocolate and tasted fine. The problem is that we’re spoiled because so many restaurants do such a good job with flourless chocolate tortes these days. I am impressed by their reasonable price on dessert, but that will probably change if they read this (note: their prices were $1-$3 higher than the menu we found on the web).
All told, I feel that Cafe Barbette does a lot well, but not everything, and not quite enough to get an excellent rating (at the prices they have to charge to make money).
February 7, 2004