First Bite: Pompette Opens in Berkeley
French cuisine in a treasured location.
Buttery breadcrumbs, spring garlic, and grated egg decorate snappy asparagus at Pompette, a charming bistro that recently replaced the venerable Cafe Rouge on Fourth Street in Berkeley. The timeless dish, called asparagus mimosa, illustrates how well French cuisine adapts to California—and the season.
Our asparagus was followed by a rich croque monsieur, which illustrates how indulgent the cuisine can be as well. All in all, it’s a real pleasure to see a French-style restaurant open with such aplomb; it’s an ideal spot to go relax in after browsing at all the nearby boutiques.
Pompette's split-level dining room boasts a gorgeous bar, but the prime seats, as we edge toward summer, are on the outside patio adjacent to the shopping mecca's peopled—but hardly pedestrian—Berkeley scene. And with Pompette’s fine selection of French wines (and knowing that pompette means tipsy), this is a fine place to enjoy oneself.
1782 Fourth St., Berkeley, (510) 356-4737, pompetteberkeley.com. Dinner Mon.–Sat., lunch daily.