Saturday, 5:30pm: dinner at Cafe de la Presse
352 Grant Street
After a long day at the conference we were attending, four of us headed over to Cafe de la Presse (located just outside the Chinatown Gate) for dinner. I had made a reservation here but was a little nervous about how it would turn out because the reviews on Zagat and Yelp had been somewhat lukewarm. I need not have worried - we had a utterly satisfying meal at this charming Parisian-style bistro.
Between the four of us, we tried the escargot, the French Onion Soup, and the Steak Frites. I did not personally sample the escargot but I can attest that they looked and smelled fabulous (redolent of garlic and parsley, sizzling, beautiful) and Jane, who ordered them, dispatched them with relish and contentment. The soup, chosen by Ellen, Jane and Pam, was great - not overly bready (as so many sad French Onion Soups are) and not under-salted (another common offense). The broth was complex - both tangy and oniony-sweet. If anything could have been modified here, I think a little more cheese would have been in order. The Steak Frites was also great. The frites were perfect (a little bigger than shoestring, golden, not at all greasy and scattered with parsley). They were served with aioli. The steak was incredibly flavorful and was served with a peppercorn gravy but it was overcooked a little (I had asked for rare to medium rare and it was probably closer to medium-rare to medium). It was also an odd, unidentifiable cut. Definitely not a hanger steak. But, hey, it tasted good. With all of this we enjoyed a Sancerre - always a crowd-pleaser and a clear choice given that the wine list seemed to be composed almost entirely of wines that were either $30 or $150 (the Sancerre was one of the few in between).