delicious transport elsewhere
by Lisa Waterman Gray
When I shared
a Café Mocha ($3.25) with my French-born friend, Anna,
on the patio at Aixois French Restaurant, 301 E. 55th
St., it reminded her of a café in Versailles. We also
ordered a light, fluffy brioche ($2) and a raspberry-filled
croissant ($2.50). I vowed to return for several meals.
Chef Emmanuel Langlade and his wife, Megan, opened Aixois (x-wah,
man from Aix-en-Provence) in August 2001 after he
finished cooking stints in Nottingham, England, Paris, Washington,
D.C., Austin, TX and Parkville, MO. They also live in the neighborhood.
French Restaurant proudly displays the French and American
flags outside its door. (photo by Jessica Chapman)
Ellen has raved about Aixois ever since she began working at
a neighborhood shop, and many of her customers stop there for
lunch. On a rare weekday when we were both available, we joined
the mid-day crowd.
Male diners were clearly in the minority. Conversations bounced
off the hard walls and ceiling, creating a din that, at times,
made it difficult to hear.
But Aixois food delights the eyes as well as the palate.
My Salade verte au Coeur de Palmier ($5) was a work of art.
Salt and sugar balanced perfectly in the balsamic vinaigrette
that decorated a large mound of split pear tomatoes, hearts
of palm and a riotous combination of mixed greens.
Two delicate, six-inch-long Seafood Crepes ($9.50) arrived piping
hot and golden brown, an unusual but delicious combination of
scallops, salmon, shrimp and an orange sauce with a slight cayenne
afterburn. Mixed greens and a small broiled and herbed tomato
half completed the plate.
Ellen enjoyed Vichyssoise ($4), a creamy, pureed and deftly
salted potato soup, dotted with leek and parsley bits. Her Salade
Nicoise ($8.50) featured balsamic vinaigrette atop greens, green
beans, hard-boiled egg halves, bell peppers, Kalamata olives
and large chunks of smoky and moist grilled tuna steak.
We shared an order of Profiteroles au Chocolat ($6). Vanilla
bean ice cream filled three puff pastries that sat in a pool
of chocolate sauce, with a deeper, thicker chocolate sauce and
roasted almond slivers on top. We nearly swooned with gustatory
A split serving of Diablo chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream
($6) topped off a weeknight dinner with Donna. Moist cake topped
swirls of crème anglais and raspberry puree, and a puddle
of deep chocolate sauce. More chocolate sauce and a brilliant
green mint sprig decorated a single scoop of vanilla ice cream.
What came before included Moules au Roquefort (mussels cooked
with Roquefort cream, $8.50), Assiette de fromages (imported
cheese served with fresh fruit, $9.50), Filet de porc sauce
dijonnaise (grilled pork tenderloin served with whole grain
Dijon mustard sauce, $16), and Crevettes Grillees au pates fraiches
(grilled shrimp over fresh pasta, $14.50). Half of each huge
entrée portion made its way home.
Although the Roquefort cream provided a wonderful complement
to tender mussels, it was so good that I also wanted to eat
it as soup or pour it over Eggs Benedict.
The sharp flavor and slightly gritty texture of the mustard
sauce made 10 small slices of pork tenderloin sing. A mound
of overly dry mashed potatoes, a stem of broccoli and half a
dozen tiny yellow pear tomatoes completed the plate.
Huge Lahvosh points thrust upward from Donnas cheese
and fruit. A fan of wafer-thin apple slices and a stem of red
grapes, plucked at the peek of sweetness, accompanied strawberries,
blueberries, raspberries and plump juicy blackberries. Four
cheeses included creamy Brie, Port Salut, Morbier and locally
crafted goat cheese.
Donnas entrée included four jumbo shrimp, an enormous
mound of tender one-inch-wide pasta noodles with carrot, zucchini,
onion and red pepper shards, and a light sauce that alternately
presented subtle sweetness and a mild bite.
A crisp Pinot Grigio ($8.50) provided the perfect accompaniment
to our dinner. It is one of nearly 50 wines and dessert wines
available mostly French. Aixois also serves French, Belgian,
Dutch and American beers.
On future visits, I may try Quiche du jour ($6.50), Pan Bagnat
(grilled tuna sandwich, $8.50), Saumon papillotte (salmon baked
in parchment, $17.50), Magret de canard grille (duck breast
with bolets and cepes mushroom sauce, $18.50), Noisette dagneau
grillee (lamb loin served with a shiitake mushrooms and goat
cheese sauce, $19.50) or Crème Brulee ($6). Ive
also heard the Mousse au chocolat ($5.50) is to die for.
Aixois childrens menu includes escargots, fruit
and cheese, and simple desserts. Cheeseburgers, roasted chicken
breast, grilled salmon or ham and cheese sandwich, and organic
chicken and apple sausage come with French fries, fresh vegetables
On Monday evenings, Aixois offers special dinners that include
soup or salad at $10.50 for fish entrees, $11.50 for chicken
entrees and $12.50 for meat entrees. Dessert prices are also
During both meals, our waitresses were courteous and knowledgeable,
and kept a close eye on our table. And, on each visit, I felt
transported to a distant land for a brief but thoroughly satisfying
Aixois French Bistro
301 E. 55th St., Kansas City, MO
Mon. Fri., -7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,
Saturday/Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
LUNCH: Tues.-Sat., 11:30 a.m. to
DINNER: Tues. Sat., 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Ratings: (out of four stars)
Key: $-under $10
$$-$10 to $20 $$$-over $20