A new "French" bistro Graces a corner of Troost. by Charles Ferruzza
Yes, there are French-inspired dishes on the menu at the month-old Grace, a Bistro on the Edge (7044 Troost --for more on the name, see Backwash) as well as framed Parisian posters and, occasionally, some Gallic music playing on the boombox that sits on a table near the big fake fireplace.
The attractive breakfast-and-lunch restaurant, owned by Lisa and Mike McLaughlin, has less in common with its French-style Brookside neighbor Café Maison than it does with the laid-back neighborhood hangout Sharp's, both along the 63rd Street corridor.
There isn't a croissant to be found, though there are crepes on the breakfast menu as well as French toast and omelets. But the kitchen also turns out an interesting -- if not particularly successful -- variation on that American farm favorite biscuits and gravy, using peppery cream gravy and two sausage patties instead of a combination of the two. The presentation was attractive, but on the day I sampled the dish, the biscuits were still partly frozen.
My cranky friend Ned loved the place in spite of the sort of eccentricities that usually drive him crazy (vinyl tablecloths, paper napkins, an excessively chatty waiter). "It's a nice melange of styles and flavors, very poetic," he decided. "And you have to love them for being urban pioneers. This is an offbeat location for a place serving oeuvres à la Florentine et Jambon."
To lure customers through the French doors, the McLaughlins are offering several $5.50 lunch specials, which change daily and range from herb-roasted salmon to the grilled beef "medallions" that I enjoyed, even if they were chunks of beef tenderloin, not medallions. There are also hamburgers, pasta dishes and several salads on the regular lunch menu.
Mike McLaughlin says he'll open the place for dinner after April 3, when daylight-saving time goes into effect. But the restaurant has issues that will have to be addressed before then: The kitchen is too slow, the food isn't always hot and the serving style is unpolished, to put it mildly.
Still, the joint has a quirky charm that's hard not to like in any language.