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Cafe Bernard

Eben Harrell

There has been much written in recent months about the French temperament. Often, the French can come across as, shall we say, “un peu” difficult ” fickle, haughty, determined to have things their own way.

But while this stubbornness continues to frustrate American foreign policy makers, it is also the most beloved characteristic for food lovers across the nation.

Those who dine at Cafe Bernard, a French cafe on Midland avenue in Basalt, will probably meet the head chef and owner Bernard, and, if they do, will almost certainly be told off. Bernard Moffroid, a small, sprightly Frenchman, works at his cafe six nights a week and almost always does the rounds.

Want ketchup with your fries? Too bad (and their called pommes frites, anyway). Want your steak cooked more than medium? Be prepared for intense negotiations.

The slogan for Cafe Bernard , the only restaurant where you’ll hear an authentic “bon appetite” in Basalt, is “where cowboy’s eat croissants.” Cowboys may indeed dine on French food here, but only in a manner in which the chef approves.

The atmosphere is splendidly continental, favoring rustic more than chic, with a cozy “corner shop that just happens to serve world class food” feeling.

The food is also very French, which is to say heavy, creamy, and delicious. One of the reasons Bernard acts like he knows best is because almost always he does. As much as possible the food is homemade; sauces prepared for each dish, bakers and bon-bons made fresh by Bernard’s wife and business partner Cathy.

Cafe Bernard has found a loyal following in Basalt for breakfasts and lunch, but dinner is the prize. A curry shrimp is the most popular dish, and the filet mignon’s creamy peppercorn sauce is heart-warmingly (and heart-cloggingly) good.

But a good decision would be to see the chef and ask for his nightly recommendations. You’ll probably be hearing them anyway.


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