The place: C’est Tout, Oakwood
Restaurant highlights: With chef/co-owner Dominique Fortin in the kitchen, C’est Tout (pronounced 'say-too') offers tastes and charming images of Southern France recognizable from the yellow paint on its faux plaster walls to the roasters adoring its tea cups to the delights from the land and sea served on its delicate floral plates. Fortin, a native of France, was executive chef at L’Auberge during part of the now-closed restaurant’s glory days. C’est Tout’s enclosed glass terrace facing Far Hills Avenue lets in the sunlight and allows for great people watching. Waitress and waiters provide a long list of daily lunch and dinner specials and there is live music on many Friday and Saturday nights.
What we had:
- Steak Hache with Fried Onions, Roasted Potatoes and Vegetables, $11.50: Here is the French version of a bunless burger. Connie ordered hers medium. The patty is thick and perfectly shaped, and it rests on a plate of vegetables that include broccoli and carrots. On the side are roasted potatoes, bite-size and crisp. “This dark brown sauce is delicious!” Connie said.
- Seafood Salad with Mesclun, Tomatoes, Beets, Crab Meat, Shrimp and Smoked Salmon, $13.95: Your eyes may first be drawn to the ruby-colored rings of beets that decorate a bed of lettuce and tomatoes, but that’s just the beginning of this dish. Amelia said, “Some of the best ingredients the sea has to offer can be found on this plate accented with lively capers, tangy cocktail sauce and zesty red wine oregano vinaigrette.” The meal-size salad is a customer favorite at C’est Tout and is likely to continue to be available after the restaurant updates its menu Oct. 21. The eatery will also get new tables.
- Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake, $9: Four layers of chocolate cake, each slathered with chocolate icing, is a chocolate lover’s dream. It’s blanketed with butterscotch sauce, then a drizzling of butter sauce and topped with a strawberry. “It’s enormous!” Amelia said. “Yes!” Connie replied. “It would be obscene for one person to eat the entire piece!” There’s plenty for sharing among three or four friends. Really. The decadent cake is one of about eight dessert options served daily.
- French Bread and Roasted Garlic and Sundried Tomatoes Butter, complimentary: What’s better than butter? This is! It’s just the right amount of roasted garlic and sundried tomatoes to be interesting without giving up its identity as butter. More garlic and tomatoes, and we would have called it a “spread.”
The info: C’Est Tout, 2600 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood; (937) 298-0022; www.CestToutBistro.com
Hours: Lunch, Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Dinner, Monday through Thursday, 5 - 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 - 11 p.m. Closed Sundays.
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