French cuisine with Uptown style: Café Barbette

When you walk through the red velvet curtains at the front entrance, you realize that you will be gaining a completely new dining experience at Café Barbette. Located in Uptown on Lake Street, this French restaurant brings a modern flair to traditional French cuisine.A bustling little corner café, Barbette has a lot to offer in atmosphere. It is situated blocks from Lake Calhoun, and there is plentiful outdoor seating for those warm summer months that are just around the corner. The tables inside have quirky shapes, and there are large leather booths for a more intimate experience as well.The food is exquisite and ranges from a full meal to light appetizers. If one is just looking for something to hold them over, try the French onion soup, moderately priced at $7 for a full bowl. It offers a fresh flavor to the classic dish and is a big upgrade from Panera level soups. The French onion soup has a tanginess that is pleasing to the palette.For a meal with a bit more substance try the Croque Monsieur, a delectable toasted treat with delicious chips fried to perfection on the side. The warm cheese and ham create a wonderful combination for any kind of weather because chefs use local ingredients whenever possible.If looking for a sturdier meal, the flat iron steak with red wine shallot butter and frites on the side will do for $15. The steak practically melts in your mouth, and the butter accents it nicely. The skinny frites are also difficult to resist and come with a garlic dip on the side.While enjoying your meal, be sure to check out the scenery, from the cool modified chandeliers to the classic pieces of artwork on the walls or just enjoy some relaxing conversation with your eating partner. Either way, you will come away from Café Barbette planning your next trip to a little piece of French heaven.anna wyatt, staff writer