It's easy to forget that Franck LeClerc was once a busser at Café Claude, having worked his way up to server, then manager, and, in 1998, full owner. 15 years and two neighboring restaurants (Gitane and Claudine) later, he's now celebrating opening day at the restaurant's swanky new second location in the Marina, which is serving up the Gallic favorites that make the original Café Claude a FiDi perennial.
Doug DeGeeter, who's worked at Chez TJ in Mountain View, is running the kitchen at the new location, and his menu is heavy on French classics like steak frites, onion soup, steak tartare, and salad niçoise. But there's also a little bit of experimentation at play, from the corn flan and corn-cucumber relish that accompany the poached salmon to a Moroccan-spiced riff on duck confit salad. The kitchen offers a special for each day of the week, from bouillabaisse on Tuesdays to duck breast on Saturdays. Here's the full menu, and the dessert menu.
At the bar, Carlos Yturria, the recently appointed bar manager for the LeClerc restaurants, has devised a clever menu of aperitif cocktails (CCM doesn't have full liquor). Options include the Greenwich Stroll, with lime, honey, and Pineau, and the Up in Arms, with Lillet rouge, Bonal, and a citrus twist. Sarah Knoefler, the group's wine director, has devised a list focusing heavily on Loire Valley grape varietals, grown in both France and California. Five bottled beers and a cider round out the selection, and charcuterie, cheese, and housemade patés are available for nibbling. Here's the full bar menu, and the wine list.
The 50-seat former Abigail's space, which LeClerc designed alongside Consortium's Elmer Lin, has a lush bordello vibe, with burgundy wallpaper, antique chandeliers, and lots of dark wood and red leather. A hidden six-seat chef's table in the back, concealed by a damask curtain, will be an especially hot ticket. Hours are Sunday and Tuesday-Wednesday, 5:30-10:30 pm, and Thursday-Saturday, 5:30-11:30 pm; they're closed Mondays. The bar opens an hour earlier than the restaurant, at 4:30, for drinks. CCM is the first in a forthcoming wave of LeClerc projects, with a jazz lounge next to his Claude Lane restaurants and new FiDi bistro Gaspar both still on their way.
· Franck Le Clerc Adds A Jazz Lounge To Claude Lane [~ ESF ~]
· Franck LeClerc Expanding Cafe Claude to the Marina [~ ESF ~]