Restaurant Reviews --> La Petit Cafe
La Petit Cafe
French cooking in Bloomington
A break in the heat of the summer has led us to try to fit in some much missed Indiana road trips. The latest one was a combination of Bloomington and Brown County, with a visit to the T.C. Steele State Historic Site. On a previous Sunday visit to Bloomington, we had experienced brunch at the quirky, but delightful Le Petit Cafe on 6th Street. We were originally told about it by our own resident Francophile, Paul Johnson. Paul was working on his Masters in French at IU in 1977 and became acquainted with the French owners, Patrick Fiore and his wife, Marina Ballor, when they opened the restaurant.
The building housing the restaurant is a former taxi garage, which explains the screened in garage door that adds a nice ambiance to the space that was obviously decorated in 1977, and not altered much since. Thirty-five years later, not much has changed and Patrick and Marina, who are both chefs and servers, also live in the building, much like you would find in a bistro in the south of France.
Dinner is served Tuesday through Sunday, with the ever changing menu written on a whiteboard at the front of the dining area. While we have never experienced dinner, the prix fixe brunch served on Thursdays and Sundays has been excellent. And I use the word "brunch" loosely, since it is 5 courses, and ranges from cheese pastry to rabbit to lasagna to whatever Marina is cooking that day. The only choice at brunch is white or red wine, served by the glass, or in half or full carafes, and at very reasonable prices. And the Pinot Gris we had was of a very good quality. The clientele was as diverse as you would expect in an eclectic restaurant in a college town, with the theater and music departments well represented based on the conversations we overheard.
Brunch this time was completely different than last time, but as equally delicious. Marina doubled as our server and we began the meal with a coarse raisin bread and butter, followed by a mozzarella cheese filled phyllo pastry that had a nice hint of sweetness. Following that was a very tasty slice of lightly spiced polenta flavored by the small chunks of sausage in it....delicious! Next up was a bowl of very flavorful beef lasagna sprinkled generously with freshly grated parmesan. And just when we were starting to get full, out came a perfectly poached boneless chicken breasts drizzled in a garlic and parsley pesto that Marina sort of scolded us for not finishing. We felt guilty, but glad that we left some room for the amazing dessert, a bit like a Boston Cream Pie, with a chocolate glaze, a coconut cream filling and smooth caramel sauce over pound cake. And here is the clincher....that fabulous meal was $11.95 per person before wine. Well worth a visit the next time you are in Bloomington.
La Petit Cafe
308 W. 6th Street
Bloomington, IN 47404
September 19, 2012