Café Beaujolais is a French style restaurant that opened in 1968 and garnered some fame when Chef Margaret Fox purchased it and started serving breakfast and lunch in 1977. Chef Christopher Kump came on in 1984 and started the dinner service. The Brickery was added in 1990 that sells wood-fired brick oven bread and later pizza. After several other turnovers, in 2016 Peter and Melissa Lopez bought the cafe and set their Michelin trained son, Julian up as Executive Chef. The location is in a house that dates back to 1893 where it served as a shoemaker shop later becoming a maternity home. It has been updated but still holds much of the original charm with music in the background, white tableclothes and black napkins, windows to the outside array of plants and photos on the walls. The wide plank wood floor looks new and the wood ceiling has been painted but it’s obviously an old house. Service was delightful, with our server turning out to be the owner of a farm that supplies much of the produce to the restaurant. It was a lovely meal in a pretty setting and a fine choice for dinner when in Mendocino.
We started with one of their specialty House Aperitifs. This one was made with sparkling wine, house-made peach syrup and Angostura Bitters. Served in a champagne stem, it was refreshing and not too sweet. Just enough fruit and sparkle to ready me for the meal and the red wine to go with it.
Tables receive complimentary bread and butter. It’s an Australian seed and sourdough bread made in-house and served room temperature. The butter is also made in-house and was nicely softened. The bread had a good crust and both it and the butter were tasty.
Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with orange marmalade was on toasted brioche and decorated with frisée and hazelnut crumble. The perfectly cooked foie gras was delicious and well enhanced by the orange marmalade, which really cut the greasy factor out. The added toasted hazelnuts gave even more texture to the smooth foie gras and crunchy brioche. This was a wonderful plate.
Heirloom Tomato Caprese contained burrata cheese, aged balsamic, basil, and summer heirloom tomatoes. A combination of yellow and red tomatoes were dressed with basil and a balsamic drizzle. They were a little on the soft side for texture but still tasty. They could have benefitted from a bit of salt but that needs to be added at the table so the water in the tomato doesn’t leak out. The burrata was creamy and blended well.
Liberty Farms Duck Breast was served with potato pavé, local braising greens, Mission fig gastrique and Chinese five spice. The local greens were a mix of tatso, chard, bok choy and collards. The duck was a perfect medium rare so nicely cooked that most of the fat had been rendered. The figs made an amazingly tasty sauce to go with the tender duck. The potatoes were a lovely pavé – a rectangle of thinly sliced potatoes with a crisp buttery edge. They were great, as was this entire plate.
Coconut Cream Pie includes coconut cream in a coconut macaroon crust and topped with whipped cream, caramel sauce and sliced toasted coconut. The toasted coconut had lovely flavor and texture but the creamy center of the pie had none. I guess I prefer coconut custard pie but this filling needed something to make it right. Come here for the starters and the mains and skip dessert.