The latest restaurant from restaurant mogul Alberto Lombardi, Café Des Artistes is a Cali-Euro brasserie inside the former Screen Door space in One Arts Plaza.
Inside, Café Des Artistes is primed and ready for theater and concert-goers. There's a dramatic richness that surrounds diners here, from plush velvet booths and red leather chairs studded in brass to cool marble tabletops and sexy red uplighting. A bar extends along the left side of the space, its art deco shape lit in a golden hue.
Libations ($9-$10) at Café Des Artistes are simple, classic and elegant. A perfect Manhattan, a French 75 and variations on whisky, gin and champagne cocktails dot the menu. The beer selection is much more humble, limited to just four by tap and eight by bottle.
Shared plates like fricassee of escargot, veal sweetbreads and scallops a la plancha join entrees like steak frites ($27), truffled porcini mushroom tortelloni ($19) and braised beef short ribs ($23) on a menu that isn't shy.
But the most dramatic moments come from the live music at Café Des Artistes. A piano player tickles the keys as bartender/singer Preston Cole strolls from table to table, alternating between crooning and thanking guests for coming as they head to leave.
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If you're looking for a sweet final verse, the dessert menu has plenty to offer. We tried the pear strudel ($8), which came accompanied by a sweet pastry cup full of vanilla gelato. Other desserts include the Mozart, a layered creation with meringue, Chantilly crème and chocolate ganache; gelato and espresso affogato, cheese plate, raspberry crème brulèe and an opera cake.
Café Des Artistes is located at 1722 Routh Street, inside One Arts Plaza.