“How about a lunch date?” my friend, Pam, asked me the other day via email. I’m always up for getting together with her, so we met yesterday at a little French cafe called Cafe Rolle in Sacramento, CA. It’s located in one of my favorite parts of Sacramento.
The food is great, the service is excellent and it was featured on “Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives”. Go here to see the brief segment on the very popular show hosted by Guy Fieri.
There are only about 4-5 places to park in front of the restaurant, but there is plenty of street parking on the cross street which features pleasant and well-maintained old Sacramento bungalows. The place is small inside with about 10-12 tables, but has 3-4 tables outside. As my friend and I arrived around 11:15 or so, we could choose to sit inside or outside. It was a beautiful day, so we chose an outdoor table. Note that by 12:00 or so, the place was packed, so if you want to have a choice table, get there early.
The outdoor tables had red and white checked table cloths with scenic French postcards strewn around the table underneath a round glass table top. We were immediately given large water carafes with big glasses for water (no ice.)
Our waiter was prompt, explained the menu making every dish sound irresistible, but gave us plenty of time to make a selection. It was a very, very difficult decision.
I chose the Croque Basil Salmon Monsieur. My friend chose a beef sandwich from the regular menu. (I do not remember the exact sandwich she chose…which is another reason not to give up my day job in favor of becoming a restaurant critic.) She also had several lovely cups of fresh coffee. (Also no picture.)
The bread on my sandwich was fresh with a crunchy crust and soft bread on the inside. The smoked salmon was lightly smoked and, although a fish and cheese sandwich is not something I would ordinarily choose, the gruyere cheese worked beautifully with the smoked salmon. The basil mayo was not overpowering. In other words, the sandwich was delicious. The salad was fresh, but a little overdressed, even though I liked the dressing. The iced coffee had wonderful fresh flavor and was foamy.
I will also say that the Raspberry Creme Brulee was perfect! It was not too sweet, the bruleed topping was crispy and the raspberries were very good.
We had a very leisurely lunch and were not rushed in any way. Our water was kept full and the waiter came back several times to find out how we liked the food and if we needed anything else.
Now, here is my point that I am not a very good restaurant critic. I should have tasted and photographed my friend’s sandwich. (I should have at least remembered the name of her sandwich. ) And, I should have photographed the wonderful Raspberry Creme Brulee that we shared for dessert. (Sigh. I guess I will just have to go back with Yes!Chef!, which is the best kind of review.)
I would highly recommend this lovely little French restaurant…especially for lunch on a warm spring day with a good friend. These things always make for a great lunch.