“From scratch cooking. Locally sourced. Bad-free.”
These pearls of wisdom appear on the menu for C Street Bistro, a small and charming café located on a side street in Jacksonville, OR.
“Chef Paul Becking is no stranger to Celebrity Chefs or the Food Network. He's cooked for Julia Child.
“…it already feels like chef and owner Paul Becking has been cooking in Jacksonville for years.
“Customers on a recent Friday filled the small space, waiting outside in drizzling rain until tables became available or taking food to go if dining in didn't look likely. But the ambiance never seemed overwhelmed as Becking effortlessly navigated the bustle, cooking behind one side of the counter, waiting tables on the other, and accepting compliments at every turn.
“Instead of signing on with a bona fide eatery, Becking worked at The Butcher Shop in Eagle Point until he could run his own kitchen again. His relationship with The Butcher Shop is evident in C St.'s emphasis on burgers…” (Sarah Lemon at mailtribune.com).
Did I mention that C. St. is small? Just how small? The café only has three indoor tables. One seats four. One seats six. And one seats eight.
Having reviewed the menu on-line, I had already decided on my lunch choice. What else can a mushroom lover choose than the Gourmet Grilled Cheese Panini with wild mushrooms, truffle aioli, and provolone and gruyere cheeses? With this I had my choice of a cup of the house tomato soup, Bistro salad, or chopped Caesar. Since the weather was unpleasant (Have I mentioned we are having a lot of rain?), I scrapped the idea of the chopped Caesar and instead ordered the soup.
To describe the soup I have to go back—way back—in time. My father always had a large vegetable garden and the pride of his garden was always his tomatoes. He would come home from work every night and inspect the garden’s progress—especially the tomatoes. He would watch each one ripen, waiting for the optimal time to pick to accompany his dinner. And I can’t tell you how many times he would go into the garden and that evening’s tomato would be missing from the vine. Yes, during the day I had gone out and plucked that beauty and would eat it there among the plants and in tomato heaven as juice and seeds ran down my chin.
My panini was no less spectacular.
Chuck was set to order from the “All-Day Brunch Specialties” section of the menu. Specifically, the Chipped Beef on Toast (a.k.a. S.O.S.) with shaved dried beef in bechamel sauce with fresh ground black pepper and salinity rosemary garlic salt on sourdough. But then I noticed written on the small chalkboard just behind him “Dungeness crab cakes are back.” S.O.S. or Dungeness crab cakes? A no brainer!
C Street was very busy during most of our visit, but the pace slowed somewhat toward the end. This gave us a chance to talk with Chef Paul and to express our appreciation for the quality of food we have eaten. Since he seemed to be a good sport, as we left I approached him and asked, “Are you willing to sacrifice all human dignity in the interests of a good photo op?”
When visiting Sophia’s Place in Albuquerque, Guy Fieri described it as “Small Place, Big Flavor.” The same could be said of C Street Bistro. As I have written before, this is the kind of restaurant we love to find. It is small. It is charming. It is chef-owned. And it is delicious food. A real 5.0 Addie find.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.