Nosh on: Ooh la la, Cape Cod dining

Pain d’Avignon is across the Sagamore and Bourne bridges, which, come to think of it, both look like the Eiffel Tower on its side.

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.

Pain d’Avignon
15 Hinckley Rd., Hyannis


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