Best Place to Get Fatter

Caf� Proven�al

Any old French joint can broil the cheese on a bowl of soup, but Café Provençal doesn't stop at superheating the Gruyère chapeau atop its crock o' French onion. At this little piece of southern France — relocated some years back from Clayton to a Kirkwood strip mall — co-owners Eddie Neill and Josh Bentrup (who's also the chef) have managed to lard their entire menu with fat, from the rich bisques and decadent pâtés to the buttery puff pastry that tops the poulet. Escargots arrive as promised on the bill of fare, "swimming naked in a pool of fennel garlic butter," and the unctuous cream sauce that envelops the Coquilles St. Jacques receives an extra boost from — what else? — an infusion of cheese. As you might expect, the dessert options here include crème brûlée and mousse, but put us down for the cheese plate. Unbutton that waistband, or better yet go Sansabelt — we've heard that retro look is à la mode in Marseille.

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