Simple, quality ingredients win me over every time. Presentation is key, too–I can, and often do, throw food thoughtlessly on plate at home. I want more from a restaurant. L’Adour is a good, solid French bistro that offers classic French food with a nod to co-owner Yann’s roots in southern France, particularly during the height of summer when you’ll find an excellent gazpacho spiced with no ordinary paprika but a pinch from his stash of Basque espelette pepper.
Recently, we segued from a holiday weekend morning of golf and gardening into brunch at L’Adour with friends and family. Breakfasting at L’Adour is always a treat, regardless if you choose to enjoy it tucked away at an intimate table for two (yes, there is one–in the front window of the dining room on the left side) or to pull several tables together for a crowd. I’ve never preferred the brunch buffet tables that hold massive cuts of beef, turkey and pork along side a renaissance style display of food platters offering more in the way of quantity than quality. I’m a fan made-to-order dishes, with leisurely breaks between courses for relaxation and conversation.
L’Adour’s small brunch menu inspires without overwhelming. For those craving something sweet there are crepes with chocolate nutella or orange butter, baskets of pastries and Belgian waffles. If you’re disciplined about maintaining a healthier diet, there is oatmeal, yogurt, fresh fruit and an option to have any of the omelets prepared egg white only.
In the egg category, poached eggs, omelets and savory crepes include choices of goat cheese, house smoked salmon, crème fraiche, and spinach, along with mainstays of peppers, mushrooms, ham, bacon, and onions. Sauces for the poached eggs include hollandaise, white wine and red wine. The red wine sauce over poached eggs with bacon and onions (Meurette) is delicious. All of the main course dishes come with potatoes and a Provencal tomato.
If you’re looking for heartier fare, try the L’Adour club–lettuce, tomato, bacon and fried eggs on brioche. Another option is quiche. Be forewarned, though, finishing a slice of L’Adour quiche is a feat unto itself. Standing about four inches tall, the crust if filled with a soft, yet sold mixture of cream, eggs, cheese and, depending on which you choose, broccoli, crab, or classic Lorraine–bacon and onion. I have to admit, L’Adour turned me into a quiche lover–I’d never liked the runny, loose custard in shallow, soggy crust I’d had before. My only problem with my quiche a L’Adour was that I had a hard time stopping once I got started, it was so delicious and was unable to even think about eating for the rest of the day, which meant I missed out on some great dessert.
Those in a light lunch mood will find imported cheeses, salads and oysters. For heavier appetites there are steaks, seafood and the brunch plate, an ample taste of all things leaning toward the breakfast side of brunch.
While savoring your meal, be sure to keep in mind dessert. (I love brunch because it gives one a reason to have dessert with breakfast.) The profiteroles, topped with a dark Belgian chocolate with a deep, slightly bitter taste that provides an excellent contrast against the filling of sweet, cold house-made vanilla ice cream. Let them sit a bit to begin to melt if they come out too frozen, an occasional issue that I believe stems from a misguided decision to fill the pastry ahead of time and then chill. A selection of ice creams and sorbets are lighter endings, with flavors like rose water, Armagnac, and pistachio among the choices. In the cold weather, the classic crème brulee or a fruit tart with a chocolate chaud or coffee au lait is a comforting end to a leisurely weekend meal.
L’Adour is not fussy or formal–it is a classic European bistro, a place to gather for good food and conversation, a convivial atmosphere that captures what is best about dining out.