Epicurean Delights at

Café Renaissance

By Chef Gabriela Ackerman

Ah, yes, the enchanting culinary journey I’m about to take you mes amis starts at this unassuming French cafe tucked away in a strip mall – an experience that defied all expectations. From the exterior, one would hardly imagine the hidden elegance that awaited inside Cafe Renaissance. This, my friends, is the kind of place where you uncover culinary treasures in the most unexpected of locations.

Greeted by the friendliest staff, my family and I were seated and Saeed, the owner gave us a little backstory to his long trajectory in the culinary scene and walked us through the menu and immediately took care my 2 year old son, crafting him a special mocktail and made sure he was the first one to eat, bringing out a Pasta Primavera perfectly toddler portioned that brought smiles and satisfaction to my picky eater. A restaurant that caters to families with such care is truly exceptional.

Our meal commenced with an appetizer sampler that was nothing short of a flavor revelation. The shrimp and scallop with pineapple? A veritable A+ combination of sweet and savory. The crab cake, a testament to their seafood expertise, and the ravioli, a delicate marvel, left me craving more.

Shortly after, a buttery delight was at our table.  Escargot, that classic French delicacy, tiny morsels of garlic-infused snail were pure heaven. And the warm, crusty bread that joined the party? A perfect tool for sopping up the rich sauce. 

The Salad Maison offered a refreshing pause, a vibrant medley of greens, plump cherry tomatoes, crumbly feta, and a house vinaigrette that truly danced on the palate. A generous grinding of fresh cracked pepper added the final touch.

As we waited for our entrees, you couldn’t help but notice other guests. It was a sight to behold; it seemed like every other table was celebrating a special occasion, and Saeed made sure to make every single diner feel special.

Out comes our waiter with 2 plates in hand, my Coquilles Saint-Jacques and Filet de Flétan. Coquilles Saint-Jacques are pan-seared Boston sea scallops, kissed by lemony white wine, danced alongside spinach and shiitake mushrooms. The scallops? A textbook example of perfection, a true testament to Saeed’s extensive research on the best scallops. 

The Filet de Flétan, is adorned with almond and lemon butter. Each bite of halibut effortlessly flaked apart, and the buttery sauce was the perfect complement and bursting with flavor.

And then came “Le Châteaubriant” – a spectacle unto itself. A center-cut beef tenderloin, accompanied by seasonal vegetables, potato, and a decadent béarnaise sauce. The chef himself emerged to show us a perfectly pink, medium-rare cut of beef, and plated it before us. 

Last but not least, les desserts!  We were surprised with a tower of desserts.

From créeme brûlée, to Capucchino cake, Champage and berries to chocolate mousse. Each one was better than the other and was hard to choose just one. My son on the other hand had a clear favorite, the chocolate mouse. 

As a fitting crescendo, Saeed, presented a flaming Irish coffee, a performance unto itself, a delightful conclusion to an unforgettable meal.

What truly elevated the evening was the joyful personality, Saeed. His warm and welcoming presence added a layer of charm to the dining experience, making us feel like cherished guests.

Café Renaissance pays homage to tradition with modern flair, and Saeed’s personal touch and the unexpected elegance of this place combine to create a culinary experience that deserves the spotlight, no matter where it’s hidden.

Bon appétit!

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