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Le Poulet Rouge

Then the other ...

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I've eaten at Le Poulet Rouge a couple of times lately; once for breakfast and once for lunch. The Red Chicken is a pleasant place to have a bite, with cool rock walls, warm wooden tables and chairs and a high ceiling. You go in, order at the counter, take a seat and wait for your food to arrive at your table.

Previously, I had thought of Le Poulet as a lunch/pastry destination, but we went there for breakfast and I was pleasantly surprised. One of the breakfast offerings is an egg scramble ($4.25) with a pretty decent choice of fillings. I had it with bacon, mushrooms and Swiss cheese, and it was delicious. Sides like toast or fruit cost extra, but the champignon, lardon and fromage were plentiful and delicious in the fluffy goodness of Le Poulet's ersatz omelette.

A few days later, I went back for lunch and ordered a tuna and artichoke panini. This time I ordered my meal to go, but even so, I wasn't deprived of Le Poulet's smiling, friendly service as I placed my order and took a seat to wait. I was there early and had beat the lunch crowd-there were only a few people at the restaurant, enjoying the patio in the pre-oven temperatures of the early part of the day-so it wasn't long before my food, made from scratch, was delivered to me in a tidy white box.

When I broke into the box for my sandwich, I noticed two things at once. First, that the panini didn't resemble any panini I'd had in the past (the bread appeared sans grilling, unflattened and uncrisped). But, as I was looking suspiciously at the bread, I noticed what a beautiful hunk of carbohydrate I had before me-dense, grainy and fragrant and dotted with what looked like black olives. Bread aside, the filling-tuna, artichoke hearts, onions and melted cheese-was likewise tasty, if tending toward the bland. Of course, one person's bland is another person's subtle. All in all, it was a good lunch made with quality ingredients.

At $7.95, the sandwich, which came with no sides of any kind, was on the pricey side. But on the other hand, the portion was generous and the quality good. My friend (who always seems to get roped into these things) had a lemon brioche that was sweet and buttery and delicious. Le Poulet's brioches should be ordered by the dozen and consumed with gluttonous abandon. The staff is friendly, the atmosphere is pleasant and the bakery goodies in particular are way recommended. What more can you want in a downtown eatery?

-Sara Beitia once adopted two red chickens, then ate them.