March 08, 2010

Le Chat Noir

ABF & I have passed by this cute little spot in Rockville Centre (Long Island) many a time, but it had always been closed. We'd drive or walk by, and I'd look longingly inside at the cute place settings, decor, and overall adorableness. It all lined up for us this past weekend, though! We were halfway through a day full of errands when we decided to pull in for a late lunch (early dinner) around 3:30. There were 2 other people inside, but otherwise it was quiet and mostly empty.

I won't lie--they had me at 'Chat.' Anyone who knows me knows I have a soft spot for black cats (I have 2 right now, Mitzi May & Oliver Squish), and most of my cats have been black cats), and the famous black cat print hangs prominently in the restaurant. There were a few other black cat touches throughout that made me smile.

Did I already say adorable? It just is. It's cozy and comfortable--a lovely look with dark wood chairs (which were quite comfortable) paired with comfy sofas, wainscoting, textured ceilings, and a generally welcoming feel to the place. I just had such a lovely time there that afternoon!

We ordered drinks first. I opted for the small pot of Earl Grey tea ($4), and ABF got the iced tea ($3). We didn't realize it was flavored and sweetened (we both normally go for plain, unsweetened), but he took a sip and was pleasantly surprised. I took a sip, too, and we both thought it might be raspberry. The server, however, told us it was currant-flavored, with a splash of simple syrup. He says they try to feature a different iced tea flavor each day.

For the entrée, ABF ordered the beouf bourgignon ($11), which came over some garlicky, creamy mashed potatoes. Sacre bleu, this was magnifique! The red wine was very strong, but not in a puckery, alcohol-y way. Just earthy and tangy and delicious. The mushrooms, carrots, and pearl onions were all scrumptious and perfectly cooked, and the cubes of meat simply melted. This was so good!

I ordered the Croque Madame ($9), a vamped-up ham and cheese that came with a perfectly fried egg on top (without said egg it's a Croque Monsieur). The folks at Chat Noir spread a thin layer of Bechamel sauce under the ham and gruyere cheese. Melty, salty, yum. The brioche it came on was soft but just a little crunchy--oh so tasty!

The sandwich also came with a side salad, mixed greens tossed with a slightly-sweet vinaigrette (almost a little too sweet for me) and generously dotted with soft, creamy goat cheese crumbles. This was delicious, too.

As I mentioned earlier, I found this place absolutely adorable. I loved the French music playing there, the understated vibe, the calm atmosphere, and the lovely matching tea sets. Look at that adorable sugar spoon in the photo below! Thanks to ABF for snapping that photo for me :) He was quite the good sport as I snapped photo after photo of the adorable matching tea set with its cute saucers, creamer, sugar bowl, etc.

We learned the restaurant is just beginning to serve dinner. The owner apparently grew up in London, had French culinary training, and is taking her time branching out to make sure she gets all the dishes right. Our two dishes are down pat, I assure you. Chat Noir also offer a full tea service ($18), bringing you hot pots of tea and finger sandwiches and the like on those lovely tiered trays. A couple sitting near us ordered that, and from what I could see, it looked beautiful. They finished almost everything, so I assume it tasted good, too!

I don't think they offer dessert yet--as our server simply came up with our check and thanked us. He mentioned that the chef works a lot of pastries into savory dishes, so maybe the sweet stuff isn't a priority right now. I hope they do branch out into this area! Until then, I'll be happy to drink their tea and snack on their sandwiches! Bon Appetit!

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