With its cozy, romantic ambiance, Babette’s Cafe’ remains a popular choice for special occasions even after an astounding 22 years in business. LC and I reserved a table for last Valentine’s Day dinner.
Despite its white tablecloths, Babette’s maintains a casual French bistro vibe. The distressed surfaces, creaky dark wood floors, and yellow plaster walls of the renovated 1916 bungalow add a rustic charm and warmth. Service is stellar yet remarkably relaxed. Chef and owner Marla Adams is always on hand to greet guests and make sure everything is perfect.
We started with excellent glasses of red wine recommeded by our server, the Black Stallion pinot noir for LC and the Eberle for me, a peppery zinfandel. An entire French baguette with butter disappeared while we chatted and perused the menu. We decided on two small plates for sharing. Peroshkies filled with minced veal and pork have been on the menu for years and are served with a tarragon butter dipping sauce. Savory crepes filled with cheeses and bathed in bechamel, then baked until the edges are crispy, reflect the chef’s expertise in French culinary technique.
True to form, I ordered the half duck served over earthy farro with a warm apple, walnut, and rutabaga compote, and finished with a sweet apple cider reduction. Roasted until the skin was crisp, the meat beneath it remained rich and succulent.
LC tried the braised short rib, the tender meat easily yielding to his fork. Paired with roasted Brussels sprouts and whipped potatoes, the plate was pure comfort food. As we finished our entrees, a young lady at a nearby table was flustered as her date got down on one knee and a photographer swooped in to catch his proposal on film.
No visit to Babette’s Cafe’ is complete without dessert. In the colder months, chef Adams prepares an irresistible dried cherry tart with a crumbly almond crust. I often pick up a whole tart for Christmas. LC and I shared a slice topped with house made vanilla ice cream and European style whipped cream for a sweet ending to our Valentine’s dinner.
As for the young lady, she said yes.
573 N. Highland Avenue NE 404-523-9121