It’s occurred to the Accidental Locavore that there’s an awfully good restaurant that I’ve never written about. We’ve been going to Cafè les Baux for years, and while the reception there is always warm and friendly, it’s interesting that we don’t share the same easy familiarity with them that we do with other places.
So, does that mean we only go there for the food??? Well, yes. It’s awfully good, casual but essentially classical French. Hervé, the chef, makes one of the best onion soups you can find, but my husband wouldn’t know. His go-to appetizer is the frisse lardon salad with a poached egg. It’s delicious and I always think part of the attraction is that it reminds us of a place in Greenwich Village that did a great version of the same salad. It was one of several places that Frank and I frequented before we met each other and I’ve always wondered if we were ever there on the same nights…
Anyway, I digress. There are always great specials, and Frank, on occasion, will call to see if he can convince Hervé to add his wonderful boeuf Bourgnon or foie de veau to the list. If there’s nothing tempting on the special board (and that’s hard to imagine), the rack of lamb is always a great choice. It’s a huge portion – 8 ribs with a lovely mustard sauce and the star of the side dishes, the gratin dauphinois.
The fillet of sole, done with your choice of sauces is perfectly cooked, and any fish specials are usually well worth checking out. But, if you’re in a red meat mood, the steak frites is wonderful, especially with the addition of the beurre maitre d’hotel. If cholesterol is no object, they will happily swap the perfectly done fries for the gratin.
If you’ve left room for dessert, there are lots of good choices. My favorite are the madelines – they’re shareable, good and there’s chocolate involved (to dip them in). Frank inevitably has the blueberry crêpes, a testament to the fact that everything’s better with butter.
One of the things I like best about Les Baux is that you can mix and match appetizers, smaller main courses, some of the classics and a special or two and have as much or as little to eat as fits your appetite. The staff is attentive and there’s a good wine list. So whenever we have a hankering for some good French food in the Hudson Valley, that’s where we’re headed.