Nosh on: Ooh la la, Cape Cod dining
Bastille Day (July 14) honors an angry mob liberating Paris’ most infamous prison. As a wise (non-French)?man once sang, “a hungry mob is an angry mob,” so naturally Saturday is a day of eating. What better place to “mange” than on-Cape at Pain D’Avignon, which celebrated its 20th year this June.
That’s 20 years of baking wonderful breads, Old World style. In 2008, the bakery added a delightful restaurant. It kept the French name — perhaps a wordplay on that famous bridge, Le Pont d’Avignon? — and its classic bistro look of black wainscoting and white linen tablecloths, a monochromatic civility echoed in the uniformed waitstaff, but the menu is colorfully pan-Mediterranean via the Cape.
There’s a big nod to mama Italia with light, fluffy ricotta gnocchi paired with peas, zucchini and a squash puree. There’s a slap of Greece in the lamb and beef burger with tzatziki and tangy pickles wrapped in a perfect onion foccaia bun. Though a twist on the Nicoise, the salade de poisson fume’s pairing of salty in-house smoked cod with fingerling potatoes and hardboiled egg has both hints of New England and Provence.
Simple yet superb, the aile de raie is classic French, however. The just-crisped, succulent skate wing’s sweet, dense scallop-like flavor is paired with extremely long, exceptionally tasty long beans and buttery, finely-sieved pommes Robuchon.
With produce from nearby Cape Cod Organic Farms, Surrey Farms and Luscious Organics, Pain d’Avignon’s heart remains pure Cape Cod. That seasonal freshness sings in a graceful dessert of small, sweet organic strawberries topped with Pain’s crumbled biscotti and local Four Seas lemon ice cream. Understatement isn’t uniquely a French art.
Bread & wine
Pain d’Avignon’s all-French wine list includes organic and biodynamic wines. Sip a lemony crisp Dominique Cornin Macon Chaintre chardonnay and nibble Parmesan-crusted rustic bread. Take home crumbly, light, lemon biscotti from the “boulangerie,” or join Pain’s Bread of the Month club. Entrees: $21-$35.
15 Hinckley Rd., Hyannis