Cafe Rouge [Berkeley]
I've been going to Cafe Rouge more since the food at T-Rex went downhill. Not that the two were ever all that similar but they were both good places to satisfy a craving for meat and ample portions of good vegetables.
There are usually tables for walk-ins, especially after 8, so it has become our default place to go without planning ahead. Service, which used to be erratic, has been consistently good (no turnover in a while) and the appetizers, which used to be hit and miss, are on the same level as the mains.
Last night I had a great lamb brochette with the liver and some marinated grilled chanterelles, just a spectacular combination. Also had an excellent cassoulet. Tasted a delicious beet, leek, and goat cheese gratin and a good bourride.
It seemed a little odd that on such a wet and chilly night only three out of around ten appetizers were hot.
five of us we went for late brunch today, 2:00 p.m., after not having been here in about 10 years. two of our party arrived about 20 minutes late, but we were never made to feel rushed, which was appreciated. on the other hand, service was really slow. once we were all there, we ordered 2 dozen oysters. it took at least a half hour to get them, by which time we'd finished our first round of drinks and ordered the rest of our meal. we ordered a cheese sampler, which while tasty, looked pretty unappetizing. smallish pieces in and amongst some kind of strewn/torn cracker bread. the main dishes showed up shortly after we'd finished the oysters, which was fine. i'd ordered the hangar steak with optional 2 fried eggs. the waiter didn't ask me how i wanted the eggs, and as i'd seen them sunny side up on someone else's plate, i assumed (stupidly) that that's how they came. they brought me scrambled. i sent the eggs back, and two perfectly sunny sides came back, but about 10 minutes later, when most of my food was gone. the hangar steak was chewy, as that cut usually is, but i remember they used to bring it to you sliced, with a nice wine sauce. the meat was a bit underseasoned, but other than that, good. my sister got the pork chop was was tasty but after sitting for a few minutes, dried up a bit, so it had likely been on the verge of being overcooked.
the waiter gave the wrong drinks to the wrong people are our table, and then smelled one of the glasses to identify them.
they forgot to bring us plates for the oysters.
they forgot to bring us steak knives (three of us needed them.)
had to ask for ketchup after the fries were delivered.
they were very nice, but there were no apologies made for any of this.
i really love the ambiance here, and i'd love to go back for a burger. the oysters were fantastic. the service was just really, really poor today. hopefully that's a fluke.
re: Robert Lauriston
yeah, i thought about that, but we had the same people all the way through, and the restaurant was busy (it was a gorgeous day out) but not ridiculously so. and yes, i kept thinking these are all awfully young people (not that that's unusual) - there must be someone here who knows this job better.
my sister just informed me that they failed to pack her to-go box with the frites that came with her leftover pork chop.
I love their meat counter and after X-mas they will have Pastrami again. I have only had it once many months ago, but it was absolutely the best I have had!
The House Made Bratwurst is excellent as well!
My last sit down meal was rather dissapointing however. I had a bowl of soup which was rather bland
(a posole type) and a grilled flatbread with pears and goat cheese that was very meager for 13 dollars. Previous meals have been excellent..just a bad choice that day.