Jul 22, 2010

Grégoire Takeout Restaurant in Berkeley

At first, it's impossible to think French inspired food and takeout style being used to describe the same place. French cuisine is well-known for their slower mode, appreciation for flavors and cooking abilities. Takeout is mostly known for the faster speed food preparing that people come to pickup in time rushed manner. Then, there are the places that can offer both for a good price and quality.

The restaurant Grégoire could be inserted in this category, although it's an extremely simplistic way of describing it. As they describe themselves, they are "the first high-end artisan takeout restaurant, located around the corner from the renowned Chez Panisse in the heart of Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto."

In a tiny spot on Cedar Street, this restaurant has two woody relaxed tables on the sidewalk and amazing patented paper boxes to be taken out. The compostable silverware has sparkling metal feel to resemble a true silverware. And although it's a takeout restaurant, the place is far from being fast. To get in and out on a timely manner, check out the menu online and call to place an order. If time is not a concern, enjoy the wait and appreciate the preparation process from the large kitchen window. 

The respect they have for what they do is felt on the great ingredients they use, best, natural and organic, from all over the world (interesting to see a place in Berkeley that doesn't prioritize local ingredients). Another aspect of that respect is the menu, that get changes every month, renovating all but two side dishes.

Talking about side dishes, I couldn't skip the potato puffs. As one of my great friends with extensive experience in homemade French cuisine describes, it's a recipe French people prepare for their kids. It could be. We all become kids again when savouring those puffs. They come in one of the hexagonal boxes in a circle shape with a sauce in the middle. When bitting the first one, you dig into a melting warm salty buttery feeling that is hard to describe. The outside is crusty and inside soft resembling mashed potato. I heard that the dough is partially bread and partially mashed potato. It costs $4.25 and is something you have to try!

Grégoire also serves sandwiches, salads and small "dishes" for lunch and more elaborate entrée "dishes" for dinner. The beverage selection is limited as any other takeout would be. I would recommend Vignette, the wine soft-drink, non-alcoholic, light and delicious. 

I have been there just for lunch meals and totally recommend it. Specially if you are able to get one of the two outside tables. It can be a windy spot, so do bring an extra layer. I have ordered salads and sandwiches in the past, they are both very rich in flavor and light weight. Tasty and delicious, while delicate and creative. 

The price tag is in the lower range, atmosphere is casual, laid back and friendly as well as the service. If you happen to be in Berkeley, give it a shot! 

Grégoire Info:
Price range: $

No comments: