Steilacoom-The Town on the Sound known as a “Place of Firsts”, added
another “first” this week (Oct. 17). The community’s first French
bistro opened for dinner, and two dozen “first nighters” were on hand
to inaugurate the new eatery.
Somebody had to do it. “Our duty as we saw it!” one of the diners quipped.
Called “Cr?®me Brulee”, the just-opened-for-business bistro is located on Lafayette Street in a modest green building that, over the years, has undergone many transformations. Originally established in 1937 as Jake Smith’s Grocery, the structure has had numerous makeovers during the decades.
Chef Bertrand Young is the owner, while David Rossmann is the Maitre ‚Äòd/Server. For a “prix fixee” (that’s “set price” that includes tax) guests selected their appetizers, entrees and desserts.
(Dinner choices that evening included: home-made ravioli, stuffed with shrimp and shitake mushrooms, served in a wine cr?®me sauce, or crab soup; breast of chicken, also in a wine sauce, served with polenta and ratatouille (a vegetable medley), or pepper steak, served with potatoes Lyonnaise. Baskets of tiny, just-made rolls staved off any hunger pains while guests awaited their orders. Dessert included a choice between strawberry summer pudding and the bistro’s signature cr?®me brulee. Patrons sampled everything on the menu and enjoyed them all. Since food is made with cream and butter, it’s definitely not some place for dieters, but portions were moderate, and no one left with an “over stuffed” feeling.
The bistro accommodates up to 60 guests in the space where they are comfortably seated at high-backed banquette-style benches or on chairs at the red/white checkered cloth-covered tables. Interior d?©cor features an assortment of photos of French scenes and mirrors, on which the maitre d’ plans to list the daily specials.
Note: Cr?®me Brulee is not a fast food restaurant, but diners had no issues with the leisurely service, probably because the place exudes the welcoming atmosphere of an authentic French country restaurant.
Monsieur Young (his father was English, he explains, with a pronounced accent) is from Fountainbleu, France. He and his wife recently relocated to this area. Madame Young is stationed at Ft. Lewis’ Garrison Command.
Bertrand adds that he was seeking such a place to open for business when he visited the area and fortuitously found the Lafayette Street site was available. After four months of work-Voila! A French restaurant that complements the assortment of continental cuisine available in the area.
At present Cr?®me Brulee is serving dinners on Monday-Saturday, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Lunch service be available shortly from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday-Friday. Eventually Chef Young will expand his offerings to include morning coffee and pastries. The bistro is closed on Sundays. Phone 253-589-3001 for reservations. Major credit cards are accepted.
Note: Milt Davidson, whose father, Clyde, once owned the grocery store, says that, despite the many changes, the original walk-in cooler is still being used.
Submitted by Nancy Covert