Saturday, June 10, 2006

Chez T

I've always had a thing for France. The food, the language, the wine, you name it. I was first enchanted when my school suddenly switched our language education from German to French, and my first ever trip to Europe was a three-week tour of France with my beloved French teacher, Mme. Hobson.

I love Chez T in Mt. Lookout for lunch not because it's less than a mile from our house (which is a bonus) but because it really makes me remember how much I love the French culture. The chef/owner clearly shares my passion, and has done everything she can to create a little piece of France right here in Cincinnati. Just like the cafes of Paris, it's a tiny little space just a few doors down from the previously reviewed Nectar. The self-serve coffee and tea bar makes the welcoming, comfortable space feel like it's the dining room of an intimate small hotel or bed and breakfast. And how cute is the bathroom?!? All kinds of knick knacks from France in a large, bright space make it a bathroom I could spend some time in (yes, women notice these things, and yes, nice bathrooms matter to us).

The food here can't be beat. Peter started with the Yellow Pepper Soup. I can't say I've had Yellow Pepper Soup much if ever, so I was intrigued to see how it would taste. It turned out to be not to thick and not too creamy, but just silky and deliciously sweet with exactly the right kick of spice. It speaks well of the chef that it didn't need an ounce of additional salt or pepper. Though I started with just one taste of the soup, I found myself lifting the spoon to my mouth for bite after bite while Peter looked at me disapprovingly.

For lunch I ordered what I've ordered a few times before: Grilled Vegetable Pita with Hummus. I also requested a substitution of the Wheatberry Salad for the slaw becuase I had it once before and remember it so fondly. My lunch was fabulous. The grill marks on the soft pita bread gave such a nice overall smoky flavor that balanced well with the roasted eggplant, red onion and creamy hummus. The side of Wheatberry Salad was just as good as I remembered. It's got a unique flavor and consistency, with its chewy grains matched with grated carrots, currants and tomato chunks, all dressed in a light but flavorful vinaigrette.

Peter ordered the ham and brie baguette, which also looked fantastic. The bread was piled high with shaved ham, a very generous amount of brie, and a tarragon mustard-y, mayonnaise-y combination. We both gobbled down everything on our plates, including the last bites of soup. If we'd had more room, we could've tried one of the yummy-looking baked goods for dessert, but we had to refrain.

The only problem is that every time I leave Chez T I'm left thinking about how much I want to go back to France, and right now it's looking like I'm quite a ways off from that. For the time being, I'll just have to settle for a taste every now and then.


The damage: $27 for beverages, soup, and two lunch entrees

Watch out for: there are no soft drinks, so you're limited to water, iced tea, and coffee. Also, remember that this is a lbrunch/lunch-only place.

Food: 4.5 out of 5 forks

Romance: 4 out of 5 kisses (it's the French part of it)

Chez T
1004 Delta Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45208

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