For Francophiles and Romance
I visited Rara Avis way back when it first opened and loved it. I took pictures and everything but never got around to writing the review. My friends will tell you this isn’t uncommon. As of 23 January 2014 I have about 38 restaurant reviews pending (this review will finally end up being published on 21 April 2014 by which date I no longer have a handle on the number of restaurants I need to end up reviewing). The problem with restaurant reviews is that they take so much longer to put together than recipe posts and I’m always second or third guessing myself. I mean I may have liked the place but that’s no guarantee other people will. What if my calling some food out is just evidence of my uneducated palate?
Vagaries of taste aside I’m not beyond believing that even with the best of intentions a place could have a bad day. What I’m trying to say is that it’s really hard to applaud or condemn a place publicly and even harder when you have crazy PR machines blasting great reviews of mediocre establishments across social media. Rara Avis has been widely appreciated and these days that gets me worried. I never know whether it’s because of quality, a hyper PR agent or because the owner knows a couple of magazine editors till I get there and place my order.
This elaborate justification of my restaurant reviewing insecurities is all in furtherance of my trying to say that none of the last 3 paragraphs apply to Rara Avis. I really, unequivocally like this place. Sometimes it’s just so simple.
The long walk up is worth it but if you read my reviews you know I love balconies and terraces. Rara Avis
has a gorgeous, lazy, retro-Parisian feel to its rooftop with its exposed bulbs, foliage and adorable accents – the perfect casual, romantic setting for French food.
I guess I’d describe the menu as French cuisine for beginners. Authentic enough but without the intimidation levels that food from this region usually brings on. The Le Chevre et la Laitue (Warm Goat Cheese on Croutons, Bed of Salad) is a heap of crunchy, happy salad leaves tossed in a tangy vinaigrette with a gorgeous dollop of rich goat cheese. If you’re feeling adventurous (and aren’t on a diet) try the La Douzaine d’Escargots (Snails in Garlic Butter) in its quaint serving dish, each snail in a little pool of garlic butter to call its own. Follow these up with the conventional, comfortable Cordon Bleu (Stuffed Chicken Breast with Ham, Mushroom and Cheese) or my personal favorite the delicate Truite Buerre Citrone (Trout in Lemon Butter).There’s an interesting selection of desserts which I frankly can’t comment on because the first time I went to Rara Avis I ordered some seasonal special which was pretty bleh and so on my repeat visit I didn’t bother with the dessert.
The staff is genuinely warm and helpful. Usually atleast one of the restaurant owners is always around tending to the guests and stopping by to chat with each table. Rara Avis makes me believe that there are still people out there personally invested in the business of serving great food and not just in the business of running a restaurant.