Hours: Mondays through Fridays, noon until 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Closed Sundays. Atmosphere: Small, informal and ever-so-friendly-French. Price Range: From a quiche lorraine for $3 to entrees about $5.75 to $7. Credit Cards: All major cards. Reservations: Not necessary, but the place is small, and by phoning you also can find out what the day's specials are. Special Facilities: Accessible by wheelchair. Boosters for children can be devised. Street parking exists, so cruise.
All parents who have strained to decipher the stilted jargon of educators have learned that "enrichment" means anything that happens to your kid more than 10 blocks from the school.But we offer herewith a tip on how to expose young adventurers to a most enriching experience in French cooking - in a most French atmosphere.
First, for those who may think there's something precious about youngsters trying French cuisine - or who doubt that their own darling little burger-burners will go for continental dishes - just remember how many overseas kids have survived rather well on the stuff.
Not only did our two young guinea pigs thrive on their first Fourchette foray more than a year ago, they could hardly wait for the Family Out editor's signal that return visits were in order for some of our past haunts.
Unlike the clients, the decor was richer than last time; in the small room up front with 14 postage-stamp-tables, things are still continentally candlelit, with the one big brick wall, much dark wood and the large mural or the diner gesturing with a fork (hence the "fourchette") that still dominates.
More treasures seem to hang from the walls now, and a trip to the back takes you to a small dining room with a wrap-around mural that covers the ceiling as well. It's a waterfront scene, featuring what seems to be a mermaid being rescued from Jaws III.
Our opening request for Kronenbourg beers and colas barely preceded the arrival of a basket loaded with 3 1/2 sliced loaves of French bread and the requisite amount of butter.
The soup du jour on this particular vendredi was vichyssoise , $1.50, which everyone tried. Though it came in the plainest of white cereal bowls, its flavor was plenty fancy. This one doesn't bowl over all kids, however, and we could tell from ours that we could have saved $3 along about here.
But stand by, for now comes the best part, times four: We move to the main courses, and a saucy story that is. From the paste-on specials in the menu, my wife selected Roast Pork Charcutiere, $6.50, a plate of soft meat swimming in an oh-so-smooth sauce that all of us taste-buddies agreed was superb.
Our 10-year-old daughter and I each tried a special of the day, not listed but nonetheless a headliner: Poulet en Croute, $7.25 which was a square of soft pastry wrapped around chicken that had been stuffed with ham, shredded mushroom and bits of magic, all in another remarkably fine sauce.
For our 12-year-old son, the entree of the hour was a minute steak, $5.75. In any other league, this offering would have been a hit; but given the marvelous alternatives, the steak failed to capture much attention.
A far more successful capture was the trapping by our twosome of mousse - airy, chocolatety and instantly put away, at $1.25 a serving.
At this point you sort of wish you could inhale another two or three dinners, but therein lies the thick line between a gourmet and a gourmand , which is French for glutton.
Besides, moderation is rewarded at settlement time: Take away those soups for the kids and everything else we ordered came to $38.29 plus tip. Though that may be no big come-on for those with tray-thumpers and toddlers, all young and old who enjoy thoughtfully prepared food in a soothing setting should find La Fourchette a fine spot for a French "Famille Out."