Open for pastries each day at 10:30 a.m., lunch 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., pastries 3-5 p.m., dinner 5-9 p.m. Closes at 6 p.m. on Sunday's. Biarritz Lounge open 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. each day except Sunday when lounge closes at 6 p.m.
Like some other restaurants in the area, La Bergerte in Alexandria has discovered the advantages of running a small, simple eatery under the wing of a bigger, fancier establishment. In the case of La Bergerie-Biarritz cafe, located in Old Town, the drapes, plush carpet and expensive menu of La Bergerie are located upstairs on the second floor of the Crilley Warehouse, 220 N. Lee St., while the provincial cuisine and ambiance of the Biarritz is to be found downstairs on the first floor.
We visited the Biarritz recently with our children and a family friend, having decided that with children in tow, the small cafe was more our speed than the fancy French resturant. It was a wise choice. The Biarritz offers plenty to tempt a sophisticated palate yet nobody minds if the children leap up occasionally to check out the pastry display.
The Biarritz has recently traded its upholstered booths and white tablecloths for wooden chairs and gay printed cloths on all the tables. An open pie safe full of old clocks stands at one end of the room. The effect is warm and hardy - very much like the food.
After we were seated a waiter brought Cokes for the boys and a carafe of white wine for the adults while we studied the menu.
Because of the heat outside, we steered clear of the baked onion soup, priced at $1.50, and chose instead the gazpacho, 80 cents, which came cold and garlicky, with everything minced as it should be, rather than blended.
We adults also ordered mixed green salads, 80 cents each, which came with a very good vinaigrette house dressing. If we had felt like making a meal out of salad, we could have had the chef salad for $3.50.
For evening dining the Biarritzauements its lunch menu, which is heavy on $3 quiched and egg dishes, with more substantial entrees including Beef Burgundy, for $3.95, Chicken Basquaise, $3.95, Steak with Challot Sauce, $5.50, and country sausage with chablis sauce, $2.50.
No children's portions are available, so our boys decided to share a Steak with Challort Sauce. Each had plenty of meat and beans, but they argued over who was getting the larger share of the fried dough balls that came with the steak.
The county sausage links my husband ordered were excellent - hot and spicy - but alas, the chablis sauce was chokingly salty. The Beef Burgundy was very tasty, and the Chicken Basquaise was the excellent. Cooked in tomato, onion and peppers, it was tender and seasoned perfectly.
For dessert at the Biarritz there is only one choice. There are lots of things on the menu - chocolate sundaes, mint parfaits, caramel custard, and cheesecake - but at the Biarritz one must have pastry. The pastry case full of tarts, Napoleons, cream pufs and other singful concoctions dominates the room. Our boys made at lest three trips each, to peer and scrunch their noses up against the glass trying to decide which treat would best top off their meal. In the end we all indulged ourselves shamelessly. At $1 per generous pastry, how could we resist?
We finished out very pleasant meal with coffee. The bill for three adults and two children, including the Cokes and white wine, came to $33.55, excluding tip.