Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Paris via Ohio City

   Picked the husband up at the airport on a recent Saturday night. It was around 8:30, we were hungry and decided to stop in Ohio City for a bite on the way home. It was a risk, without reservations, to venture into what has become one of the city's buzziest busiest dining districts. But we ended up with a table at Le Petit Triangle Cafe, a French style cafe that I have not visited in a long time. In the rush to eat at all the hot new places, I lost touch with this charming little gem and rediscovering it was a treat.
   Very reasonable prices for wine.  They had a Malbec from France- something I'd never tried for just $21. When I asked about it, the server described it and then dashed off to pour me a taste. Exemplary response that many more upscale establishments should emulate. It was a simple red, uncomplicated and light, just right for the small plate spread we put together. Our leisurely feast included an excellent chicken pate, a big bowl of mussels mariniere, a crunchy French flat bread "pizza" that's topped with caramelized onions, olives, and Parmesan. The only disappointment was the onion soup- the broth lacked both the necessary beefy richness and the requisite amount of salt. The finish was a fabulous dessert crepe made with spiced plums and presented with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  
   With conversation as a priority- we hadn't seen each other for three days- the quiet atmosphere was just right,with patrons all tete-a-tete and (because there is no bar) no bar scene hubbub. Soft lights, soft music, an intimate space with a European persona (and no tv's)- it was the perfect spot to be together.
  Owners Tom and Joy Harlor provide many reasons to find your way here: the selection of savory and sweet crepes and classic French dishes including salads, sandwiches, omelets and entrees; a relaxed and welcoming vibe, good value. And something more intangible- the total combination of food, decor, pace, energy, attitude- that I find so appealing. Let the crowds chase after the next new It place. Join them when you're in the mood. But when the occasion calls for an alternative, keep this place in your sights. I know I will.

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