January 22, 2006

Caribou Café

Last night I visited Caribou Cafe, a French bistro located on Walnut Street between 11th and 12th. Caribou Cafe is pure, basic French. Chef-Owner Oliver de Saint Martin has a talent for combining flavors while staying true to this premise, and the courses I enjoyed are good examples of that talent.

My first course was one of the nightly specials; mixed greens with prosciutto, nuts, roquefort and a blackberry vinaigrette. The salad came out without the prosciutto, but the server quickly corrected the error—no biggie. The prosciutto, nuts and roquefort married elegantly, and the blackberry vinaigrette was light and subtle. The only quirk was the sliced, grilled pear that topped the salad, which did not add much to the course.

My main course, also one of the specials, was the pan-seared salmon over petite brussels sprouts with a béarnaise sauce. The salmon was well prepared and melted in my mouth. Chef Saint Martin’s béarnaise sauce was brilliant. Its reduction included bacon, which helped to draw out the nutty flavor of the sprouts.

For me, there’s only one dessert at Caribou—the chocolate mousse. Dense, creamy, almost pure cocoa. It’s served with a warm wafer. Simple and perfect. I recommend enjoying it with Frangelico.

Caribou Café
1126 Walnut St.

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