It's January and extra dreary in Chicago. What do I do to escape the cold, the snow, the bad winter fashion? Of course, I take a short trip, this time to Paris. Down the stairs of Cyrano's Bistro, the elegance and joie de vivre of Cafe Simone Cabaret awaits. That's right, cabaret. French food can't really elevate my spirits alone (too many sauces) I need, glamour, bawdy innuenedos and music. That's exactly what was served up at Cafe Simone Cabaret, when nine chanteuses and one rollicking piano player melted the frigid air on a blustery January night. They gave us Cole Porter and Peggy Lee, French tunes and Eartha Kitt. We enjoyed it all in a dimly lit little room with wine, French flavors and insouciance to feed us.
Naturally, the wine was exclusively French, mostly from the Bergerac Southwest region of France that the chef, Didier Durand, (can a name be any more Frenchified?) hails from. My best friend Sheila made the mistake of ordering Pinot Grigio. Mon Dieu! The waiter delicately explained that the cafe doesn't carry wine from other regions.
There was even a cherub hovering over us carrying grapes but he looked suspiciously Italian to me.
I dined on saumon grille, grilled salmon over couscous with curried lemon butter and thankfully, no sauce. The dish was well seasoned and artfully prepared. Unfortunately, I didn't get to finish it because I forgot about my food once the cadre of cabaret singers started crooning and grooving.
However, nothing, not even great performances, makes me forget Les Desserts. Lavender-scented cake dripping in chocolate and strawberries ended my Parisian excursion. The dish was rich and sparingly sweet, just like the voices of the cabaret singers.