Eats, Chews and Leaves: The easy-to-love taste of Ça Va Bistro Moderne

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Watching people spending money amuses me, because people spend money on the most absurd things: Groupon offers for a bikini wax and facial combo; Lotto tickets with the same six “lucky” numbers; juice cleanses; weekday lunches at gourmet bistros in Fernwood. Okay, so the last expense listed is mine, and in my opinion, not an absurd purchase. I’d like to think others agree.

Ça Va Bistro Moderne, open only since December 2012, doesn’t exhibit the tell-tale signs of newness that a restaurant typically displays after it has just opened. The space, a narrow enclave cleverly expanded by natural light and the use of multiple mirrors, feels established. No residual paint fumes here. Even the clientele, who chatted with staff while dining, felt like regulars.

One wall has been transformed into a head-to-toe chalkboard displaying the entire dinner menu. For all you pseudo-photographers, it’s worthy of multiple Instagram posts.

The lunch menu offered only eight options the day my friend and I dined — welcome simplicity when it came to choosing. I had to try the fish pie ($18). My friend picked crab and saffron angel hair pasta ($15).

A chestnut-brown dome of puff pastry, my pie encapsulated rock cod and leek in a béchamel-type sauce. The satisfying destruction of the crust, which soaks up the filling as one cracks through, needs to be experienced. Slow-cooked leeks and white fish are a classic combination, so don’t be surprised if you fall in love with each rich, creamy bite.

The pasta, an often heavy restaurant dish, veered to the delicate side, so much so that my friend remained hungry after polishing off the plate. Fine ribbons of crab stained red from the saffron were strewn among the thin pasta strands. A sophisticated option for carb lovers — and crab lovers.

Still not full, my friend ordered the maple-walnut brioche bread pudding ($8) and convinced me to try the dark chocolate soufflé with sour cherry ice cream ($8).

His first-ever bread pudding experience concluded with smiles. Brioche, a slightly sweet bread with high butter and egg content, lends itself well to dessert. At Ça Va, the pudding drips with maple sauce and slowly melting ice cream. It produces a serious sugar high that sweet-tooth self-identifiers will enjoy.

I’m still smitten with the deep cocoa soufflé, which is really a cookie crumb tart shell oozing hot, chocolate batter. As with the fish pie, take a spoon, break through the crust and indulge.

I found wait times for food on the long side, especially for a restaurant with only 32 seats — not all of which were filled — and for a mid-week lunch. My friend also requested I mention the in-house music in this review, which featured “In the Waiting Line” by Zero 7 off the Garden State soundtrack. He’s a fan.

I’d gladly spend my funds here again. Perhaps you’ll do the same?

 

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