Good Taste: Le Cave du Grenier opens in Vineyard Haven

Good Taste: Le Cave du Grenier opens in Vineyard Haven

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Owner Jean Dupon stands in the porch of his new La Cave du Grenier, which sits below his restaurant, Le Grenier. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Chef Jean Dupon has owned and operated Le Grenier, the French restaurant on Main Street, Vineyard Haven, for 34 years. And now, he is lending his masterful French culinary skills to a new venture, La Cave du Grenier, which is just downstairs from its sister restaurant.

La Cave du Grenier is (naturally) a French-style bistro serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Inside, the walls are painted a rich burgundy with a cream finish and the bistro tables and wicker chairs sit on a black and white checkered floor, which gives the room that Parisian feel. There is ample seating outside as well where you can enjoy a raspberry and cream croissant and a coffee and wonder what it might feel like to do the same thing on the Champs-Élysées.

In the kitchen, Mr. Dupon has the expert help of chef James McDonough, who ran the kitchen at the Beach Plum Inn for the last 16 years. “I’m really excited to be working with classical French food,” says Mr. McDonough, “and to be working with Jean, his reputation precedes him.”

Together they have created an outstanding menu that combines French classics and Island favorites.

Sitting on the patio at La Cave on a warm summer morning — strong coffee in hand, tempting menu in front of you — is a luxury. You might start with a just-out-of-the-oven croissant, fresh fruit, or homemade granola, which ranges from $5.50 to $8. The breakfast sandwich gets its French-ness from the warm baguette it’s served on, with two eggs, baby spinach, and Gruyere.

The chefs get creative with specialty egg dishes like baked eggs Florentine served with creamed spinach; baked eggs Lorraine with cream, bacon, and cheese; classic eggs Benedict or the vegetarian version with avocado and tomato in lieu of Canadian bacon ($7.50–$10.95).

Local-egg omelets are stuffed with asparagus and brie or basil and mozzarella, or if you are so inclined, free your inner-chef and build your own with options such as spinach, avocado, sausage, cheddar, and goat cheese.

For the breakfast sweet tooth, La Cave will not disappoint. Who better to do French toast than a Frenchman? Buttermilk pancakes are served with maple syrup and cinnamon butter, or you could really treat yourself with the fresh strawberry crepe Romanoff topped with orange pastry cream ($6–$9).

Stop in for lunch whether you’re looking for something light and quick (North Tabor Farm greens with candied walnuts, apple, Great Hill Blue cheese, Black Mission fig vinaigrette, $12) or if you’re famished (steak frites maître d’hotel: grilled top sirloin, frites, garlic butter, and grilled asparagus, $19.)

Classic French starters include escargots, onion soup gratinee, and Vichyssoise (a cold leek and potato soup), $7.50–$12. North Tabor Farm in Chilmark and well-known for its delicious baby greens, which are heavily represented on La Cave’s salad menu, including the shrimp salad with Haas avocado and lemon herb oil.

Sandwiches are served with crispy frites (fries) and indisputably fresh bread. Consider the roasted chicken salad with celery, apple, walnuts, and mayo on a warm croissant or the burger with lettuce, tomato, Bermuda onion, and choice of bacon, cheddar or blue cheese on a toasted Kaiser roll ($11–$18).

Lunch entrées include Crepes St. Jacques with sautéed Georges Bank scallops, mushrooms, cheese and cream sauce, and local sole Meuniere with lemon brown butter, sautéed spinach and steamed Basmati rice ($14–$19).

Some of the lunch salads and entrées reappear on the dinner menu, though for your evening meal the chefs have prepared dishes such as the steamed lobster with rosemary potatoes, drawn butter, and vegetable du jour. Grilled chicken breast is served with a decadent champagne cream sauce, grilled summer squash, and rice pilaf ($17–$29).

Be sure to save room for desserts such as profiterole au chocolate, croistard (sweet croissant custard cake), and if you’re still thinking about those incredible sounding breakfasts, the crepe Romanoff is available for dessert ($6-$9).

La Cave is child-friendly and there is a menu specifically for the little ones. Breakfast is served daily, starting at 7 am, lunch begins at 11:30, and dinner at 5:30 pm, and there is no alcohol served at this point. Call 508-693-0023 for reservations.