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Try the Executive Lunch at Cafe des Architectes

By Anthony Todd in Food on Nov 29, 2010 7:20PM

Lunch deals aren't often worth reviewing apart from the restaurant they are housed in, but the Executive Lunch at Cafe des Architectes is the exception. This astounding deal at one of the city's better restaurants is a great opportunity to taste their food at a fraction of the dinnertime price. The lunch also a nice perk if you're stuck downtown and want to have a little luxury splurge. You'll be glad you did. However, don't expect to get out fast - the only downside is the speed.

The Executive Lunch has four courses: an appetizer, a salad, an entree and a dessert. We had spent some quality time in the pastry kitchen with chef Meg Galus, so we were particularly excited about the dessert - a miniature speciality from a rotating daily dessert list, only available at lunch. For the salad, we tried the chilled shrimp with fennel, a refreshing and surprisingly substantial dish of two large shrimp and greens. Our appetizer was the warming and traditional french onion soup, a hearty favorite that was perfect on the rainy day we visited the Cafe.

Our large portion of beef was another surprise - flavorful and juicy, our only complaint was that it was slightly overcooked - medium, instead of medium rare. And the dessert selections were full of chocolate, caramel and hazelnut, and left us sitting in a warm fog.

Cafe des Architects bills this meal as a "30 minute" executive lunch - don't count on it. From the moment we sat down to the time our dish hit the table clocked in at 47 minutes - admittedly, a possible deviation from the norm. We kept getting worried looks from the hostess and an explanation that there was a problem with some kitchen equipment. In any case, the 30 minute claim was a bit of a farce, so we can't recommend this as a quick professional meal. But, as a bit of lunchtime luxury, it couldn't be better. Bring a book or a good conversational companion and take a long lunch - we'd bet on being out in an hour.

Cafe des Architectes is located at 20 East Chestnut Street.