Toulouse Cafe French 3314 Knox St., Dallas, Tx. 214-520-8999
Toulouse Café is like a trip to Paris, and you don't even have to leave town. The cuisine is 2/3 French, 1/3 part Napa Valley. The atmosphere is 100% Paris. Readers of D Magazine voted it their favorite French restaurant.
SETTING - An old building in the hip, restaurant-rich Knox-Henderson area.
APPETIZERS - The mussels are a specialty. They have them 5 ways, including Provençale, Poulette, and Mariniere (not that I know what any of those things mean, but they're all good). And the Tuna Tartare with Cucumber, Lime, Radish, Cilantro Puree, and Tomato Oil is one of my favorites. There is a small plate (Plateau Charcuterie) with a great country pâté, peppered salami, and prosciutto with Dijon mustard. Haven’t tried the salads, but they looked good.
FOOD - Everything is top-notch. Their entrees include a quiche du jour, Duck Leg Confit, Steak Pomme Frites (that means with great french fries), Filet au Poivre et Cognac (beef filet with crushed black pepper), and Dover Sole Meuneire (brown lemon butter). The Bouillabaisse (French seafood soup) is as good or even better than any I’ve had in France, with a broth so flavorful and intense that I guarantee that you will sop it up with the French bread. They also have cheeses, soufflés, and half a dozen ports. Café Toulouse serves the same menu for lunch and dinner.
WINE - Nice mix, predominantly European, nothing outrageously expensive. Half come by the glass. They have an attractive bar.
AMBIANCE - Paris bistro. Cozy restaurant inside, nice semi-enclosed patio out front – great for people watching. Lots of Parisian touches – black wood trim, euro-tiled floor, zinc- topped bar. Check out their web site.
RESERVATIONS - For 6 or more only. You might have a short wait for a table during the peak dinner hours, but there are usually tables open at lunch. This place has a late lunch crowd, lingering even past 3:00. Parking is tough – you can either walk a block and do some window-shopping, or better yet, just use the valet.
BOTTOM LINE - Save yourself the airfare, because Café Toulouse is as close as it gets to Paris.