|The French Village -inspired Dining Room at La Bicyclette|
Given that we were on the earlier side of lunch, the cafe was still empty, so we originally dismissed the option. Serendipitously, we did ask the hostess of La Bicyclette if she knew the best way to get to Casanova whereupon she informed us (and as luck would have it), that this was their sister restaurant. So we stayed put.
Before I delve into the details of this find, I want to note that our dining state of mind at this point in the trip can best be described as leery. The night before, we had reservations at the much hyped casual no-frills Monterey Fish House. This meal was horrendous in every way, but the kicker was that all of the fish we asked about were from places far, far from Monterey, ranging from New England, to Indonesia to Washington; perhaps the name should have been Everywhere in the World but Monterey Fish House. The food not only lacked care, flavor, and quality, but also resulted in a minor case of food poisoning for B, who since has refused to give a favorite dish prior to this experience (sea scallops) another try. But I digress.
So long story short, we decided to give La Bicyclette a try, and were pleased; our good food Karma had returned, our leeriness vanished. The setting was adorned with French country kitsch in a way that was actually warm and charming. And the incredibly knowledgeable, friendly, and busy hostess-waitress was delightful and efficient, even as the dining room quickly reached capacity a mere thirty minutes after we sat down.
Given the experience the night before, we did not imbibe (but we rarely do at lunch). I did notice that the wines by the glass listed on the chalkboard provided all local (and thus tilted heavily towards white or pinot) options. The local, seasonal ingredients, presented in French country style, were pleasing to the eyes and proved oh-so delicious.
|La Bicyclette: A Steaming Pot of Sunchoke and Bacon Soup|
|La Bicyclette: Root Vegetable Gnocchi|
|La Bicyclette: Smoked Salmon Omelet with Mixed Greens|
I loved this cafe so much that on our next trip to this area, we will consider staying in Carmel-by-the-Sea instead of Monterey in part so that we can enjoy dinner here. The price for the appetizer, two entrees, tax, and tip was $40 -- not an inexpensive lunch, but a great value!