By Anne DesBrisay
Tall tin ceiling? Yup.
Espresso-tinted wood? Got it.
Granite bars, hefty mirrors, bistro lighting? Check, check, check.
Big, busy, boisterous, brasserie atmosphere?
Not so much. At least not at my solitary lunch.
Enter the diminutive St Martha’s Brasserie d’Orléans and you won’t be transported to the great gastro palaces of Paris. But you will have a pretty good lunch, complete with brasserie-boffo frites. Service could use a buffing, though. And a noon crowd would help the atmosphere. Still, this new Orleans eatery is checking boxes in more than just requisite brasserie décor.
I had the special. It was a soup and sandwich combo for $10. The server informed me it came with soup and frites. Later, I’m told it was actually either soup or frites. Or salad. (He’s new, it’s new, there’s a kitchen-to-server conversation needed.) I chose soup. It was duck consommé. As soups go, it doesn’t get much more French. The broth had a gentle, clean flavour, though the brunoise of carrot were mushy.
Along with my soup, the sandwich still showed up with a few very good fries (the kitchen had taken some pity on me). The sandwich was house-made foccacia around grilled sausages and mushrooms, caramelized red onion, and greens. It could have used a bit of mustard punch, but that was solved when I asked for dijon. Once smeared in, it became a very nice sandwich. Company would have added to the pleasure of it.
Orleans is desperate for good places to eat. This one is showing promise.
Open: Daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
St. Martha’s Brasserie D’Orléans, 503-3095 St.Joseph Boul., 613-424-9199.