You can take the French chef out of a fine-dining environment, but you may not be able to take a fine-dining orientation out of the chef. Not completely, anyhow.
Case in point: After closing his more upscale restaurants L and Table in 2020, Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel had two relatively casual restaurants in his portfolio. French Crust Cafe?, adjacent to Findlay Market, is a colorful establishment with the feel of a Parisian bistro and is a perfect place for lunch or brunch. And Le Bar a Boeuf, which opened in 2015, has an emphasis on unusual burgers and several bourgeois French dishes containing ingredients like escargot and calf liver.
Located on the ground floor of a Walnut Hills condo building and drawing patrons largely from nearby neighborhoods, Le Bar a Boeuf features a large patio with river views and one of the tiniest kitchens imaginable for a full-service restaurant. The somewhat out-of-the-way location and the menus focus on ground meat kept me from dining there often.
Recently, I heard that de Cavel had relocated with a core staff from Table to the aforementioned compact kitchen. As a consequence, Le Bar a Boeufs menu has gotten more interesting as de Cavel and his young colleague, Chef Jordan Brauninger, have introduced a variety of dishes reminiscent of Table and of the Maisonette, where de Cavel first wowed our citys palates in 1993.
Although he hasnt sought publicity or done any promotion of the staff and menu changes, de Cavel says that word-of-mouth has led to more diners, at times almost overwhelming the kitchen and serving crew.
Read a full review at CityBeat.com
Le Bar a Boeuf, 2200 Victory Parkway, Walnut Hills, lebaraboeuf.com.
Photos by Hailey Bollinger