En Croute opens today in Nichols Hills Plaza
En Croute, 6460 Avondale Dr., opens today in Nichols Hills Plaza. The fromagerie, bistro and bar looks like another building block for the city’s fast-developing diningscape.
The menu features curated cheeses and charcuterie, espresso drinks, fresh-baked breads and pastries, to support breakfast, lunch and dinner in an inviting setting.
Managing partner Crosby Dyke is in charge of the cheese inventory and chef Jonathon Stranger uses her knowledge to inspire a simple, elegant menu.
On Sunday, television star and chef Andrew Zimmern and crew were at En Croute to finish a shoot that began with a quail hunt between Stranger and the “Bizarre Foods” host. Shortly after, the restaurant began a day of preview services.
My wife Lori and I were there for lunch, which began with roasted Fresno peppers stuffed with cream cheese and crab. We followed that rich, spicy treat with a delicate salad of St. Maure Chevre, fresh strawberries, pistachio nuts, sliced radishes, avocado, gem lettuce and a perfect Champagne dressing.
We could've easily ended right there happy, but more goodness came in the form of a pork rillete sandwich and wild mushrooms on truffle toast topped with a sunny-side egg and Locatelli Romano. Chef Stranger also sent out braised short ribs with a puree of potatoes, roasted carrots and peppers.
The rillette was a hearty charcuterie sandwich with house-pickled jalapenos, very satisfying. The mushrooms over toast were decadent and delicious. The short ribs weren't quite fork tender but tasty, and the accompanying vegetables were pitch-perfect.
What an exciting start for an ambitious concept. Stranger promises a daily grilled cheese with a rotating menu for the weekends.
Members of the restaurant’s ownership group includes Stranger, Dyke, Drew Tekell, Robbie Haggard, Andrew and Apple Rice, and Andy and Tracey Zeeck.
With chef David Henry a few hundred feet north at The Hutch and chef Joseph Royer minding the stove at The Metro Wine Bar and Bistro a few hundred feet east, diners can now descend upon Nichols Hills Plaza for a "Top Chef" challenge of their own making, dining at each over the course of a weekend.