Bistro De La Gare

Reuniting with an old partner is a hit-or-miss proposition -- after all, for every Rush Hour II, there's a Rush Hour III. For two chefs aiming for II, hit up Bistro De La Gare.

From the former chef/owner and sous chef of Cafe De La Gare, who spent the last decade at Jarnac and Babbo respectively, BDLG's revisiting seasonal Franco-Italian in a cozy, glass-fronted, white walled sleeve outfitted with red-cushioned banquettes, tile flooring, matte metallic ceiling fans, a small dark-wood bar, and a fountain'd secret garden -- preferable to a Savage Garden, where they only serve chica cherry cola. Abetting green market goods with local ingredients from the likes of Murray's Cheese and Ottomanelli's, apps lead with roasted beet & tarragon goat cheese sformato, country-style pate w/ homemade pickled veggies, confit of rabbit salad w/ carrot vinaigrette, and grilled baby octopus w/ cannellinis & potato cake, or, as the Irish call it, cake. Italianate mains include corn tagliatelle w/ braised leeks, green market lasagna, and chicken cacciatore w/ homemade pancetta & polenta, while more Parisian joints run from braised rabbit w/ mustard sauce, to a cassoulet passed down through four generations, to braised lamb shank w/ winter vegetables; fish get Med-style with sauteed skate w/ French lentils, and even grilled barramundi, also known as Asian sea bass (เตะตูดเขา, Sea Bass!).

All's wash-downable with a spate of local brews and Ital/French/American vino, while lunchtime hunger's handled with bites like housemade bucatini w/ marinara or pork ragu, a braised brisket sandwich, and a hamburger on an English muffin, the best English-American union since...America?