Super Bowl Sunday turned out to be a fine day to go out for brunch. I called Bardot Cafe and asked if we needed a reservation.
“No, we have plenty of tables available,” was the cheery reply.
We drove by a number of places, and there was no line to get in. I assumed everyone was home cooking chicken wings and making dip.
Bardot Cafe is named in honor of Brigitte Bardot, the French actress who was popular about 50 years ago. Located in Northern Liberties, the restaurant has a long bar, tables and several black leather roomy booths. I got a kick out of the red flocked wallpaper.
A spicy bloody mary ($5) and screwdriver ($5) kept us content as we read the menu. The bloody mary was way too hot. The bartender made me another one that was spicy but not so hot that I needed a glass of milk to cool my throat down. Breakfast and lunch options are available.
We began with chicken liver mousse ($10) and creamed chip pastrami ($7). The mousse was whipped into a creamy texture and shaped into two quenelles. Instead of cornichons and pickled onions, my appetizer came with shredded pickled carrots topped with chopped pistachio nuts. All I needed to do was spread the mousse on small slices of toasted brioche and enjoy.
Creamed chipped beef, also known as SOS, was a staple for our GIs in training and in university cafeterias. Pastrami was an element of this dish, and it was a tasty surprise. The cream sauce was just right. It was not too thick and actually enhanced the flavor of the not-too-salty deli favorite that was placed on sourdough rye bread.
Mushrooms and leeks are a fine culinary marriage. When properly sautéed, they can be an appetizer or filling for an omelette. My mushroom omelette ($12) was golden on the outside and creamy inside. It was rolled like a carpet and not a bit overcooked. The mushrooms added a heady flavor, the leeks a bit of sweetness and some goat cheese was added for a touch of tang. The omelette had some cool spots because it was served on a cold plate. I asked our server, who was also the bartender, if I could substitute grits for potatoes. She said I could for $2. Everyone is using Anson Mills’ grits these days. They were served in a small cast-iron pan. Too much cheddar cheese was mixed into the grits, which could have been creamier. They were also too salty. A side of bacon ($5) hit the spot. A handful of overdressed, limp greens accompanied the omelette.
Eggs Benedict ($14) is prepared with citrus-cured arctic char in place of Canadian bacon. I could taste the lemon and the char reminded me of belly lox from the deli. It imparted a slightly salty flavor, which I liked. The poached eggs were a tad overcooked and could have been hotter, but the hollandaise, rich and thick, added texture to the yolks. The English muffin was made in-house. Oven-roasted Yukon gold potatoes and a side of sausage ($5) rounded out this entrée. I found the sausage to be a little sweet.
Coffee ($3.50) was strong and freshly brewed. It was the highest price I ever paid for a cup of coffee in a neighborhood restaurant.
Service was a little slow, but our server apologized for the wait.
Bardot Cafe opened in August. Our meal was uneven, but I think with a little more care and attention, the establishment could be a fine addition to Northern Liberties.
Two-and-a-half tips of the toque to Bardot Cafe.
477 Poplar St.