Lillet Martini

Ça c'est bon. Is there anything more charming than finding a quaint French bistro in a neighborhood where you don't expect it? Mais non! A decade ago, any restaurant that dared to open in this part of town had to feature chips and salsa on its menu; two decades before that, garlic bread and red sauce. But now a new generation of hip, trendy eateries is gentrifying lower Highland -- with Patrick DuPays leading the way. The chef/owner of Z Cuisine comes complete with French accent, French heritage and French love for fresh ingredients that are used to create the daily specials listed on the chalkboard. And the cocktail du jour? While many might suggest a fine wine to complement that cassoulet, I went with the Lillet Martini ($7), made with Grey Goose, Lillet and a fresh lemon zest. Barely large enough to seat an entire baseball team -- at separate tables -- Z Cuisine still packs in plenty of joie de vivre. And the comfortable bar area looks like the ideal spot to have dinner alone, daydreaming of Paris and Jean-Luc. Quelle idée!


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