Wednesday, April 4, 2012

FRENCH

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Chez Jacques

1022 S. First St.

Jacques' Café is roomy with a sunny barroom and a series of intimate dining rooms. The restaurant opens at 10 a.m.—a good time to sample the crepes. The tables near the bar are the place for a glass of wine followed with escargot or perhaps a charcuterie plate with pâté and prosciutto. The onion soup is a classic topped with bubbling gruyere cheese. For dinner it is hard to go wrong with jumbo sea scallops or duck in orange sauce. (J.B.) $$-$$$ CC. FB. SB. Handicap access. 672-1040

Coquette Cafe

316 N. Milwaukee St., Suite 212

Milwaukee's most authentic French menu is filled with standards such as coq au vin, pomme frites, croque monsieur and a fine onion soup. Sample appetizers with wine or try the locally produced Biere du garde, a fine beer. Good food needn't be painfully expensive. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. OD, FB. 291-2655

Lake Park Bistro

3133 E. Newberry Blvd.

Chef Adam Siegel is a recent James Beard award winner. The Bistro's setting is in Lake Park and has unbeatable views of Lake Michigan. The menu is all about France, ranging from foie gras to steak and frites. The French wine list is exceptional.  (J.B.) $$$-$$$$. CC. RS, FF, FB. SB. Handicap access. 962-6300.

Le Reve Patisserie & Cafe

7610 Harwood Ave.

A patisserie and café of distinction, Le Reve boasts desserts that look like works of art. Expect French classics like steak au poivre, bouillabaisse and steamed mussels. Daily specials include delicacies like trout meuniere and lobster gratin. The bar is now full service with a full range of cocktails plus wine and beer. Open from breakfast through dinner. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. FB. Handicap access. 778-3333.

Pastiche Bistro

3001 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

The bistro isn't large but has a fine, mostly French menu. Order some wine and begin with onion soup, then perhaps a salade Nicoise. And for an entrée maybe coq au vin, trout amandine or steak frites. The interior has charm with understated Gallic charm. The lunch and dinner menus do differ. Entrees are fewer at lunch but considerably cheaper. The wine list is not large but is thoughtful. In general the prices seem about right. This is a charming restaurant in an unlikely setting. (J.B.) $$-$$$. CC. (414) 482-1446

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