The Place: Cuisine d'Art (701 North New Ballas Road, Creve Coeur; 314-995-3003), a small, locally owned French-themed café and catering company with large breakfast, brunch and lunch menus.
The Lunch: Chicken salad crowns, served with a side salad and a banana-nut muffin, for $8.99.
The Verdict: Cuisine d'Art is hardly a new item of the list of popular West County lunch destinations. Walking into the café around noon, you can expect to rub elbows with business people exchanging deals over a French dip sandwich or groups of women meeting up for a quick lunch of fresh salads and iced tea. Despite the frequent comings and goings of its guests, however, the café's ambiance is decidedly laid-back. If you're lucky enough to snag a table on the patio on a particularly nice day, you can enjoy you sandwich, soup or salad at authentic French café tables, all with soft-rock tunes playing leisurely in the background.
Gut Check decided to order the c hicken salad crowns, after reading on the menu that the chicken salad was one of the café's signature items. The salad arrived at the table and was almost too pretty to dig into. The two large tomatoes were cut into the shape of flowers and generously filled with the café's all-white salad. The chicken salad was fresh and well-blended, with juicy grapes and thinly sliced almonds evenly dispersed throughout.
The side salad was was topped with fine shavings of Asiago cheese, tangy balsamic vinaigrette and lightly salted, crunchy croutons.
Nestled on the corner of the plate was the small banana-nut muffin. Following the café's attention to detail and presentation, the muffin was in the shape of a small flower, and was the perfect afterthought to the meal. The muffin was moist and buttery, and the walnuts were finely chopped, so as not to overshadow the banana taste.
Whether you're a busy business person in search of the perfect lunch or you miss the ambiance of a French café, stop by Cuisine d'Art in Creve Coeur. The fresh ingredients, friendly atmosphere and delicious lunch specials will give you a slice of joie-de-vivre, all for less than $10.