I realized I haven’t ever written this lunch place that I go to often—probably more often then anywhere else in fact. So often that I often refer to it as the school cafeteria. Anyway, the Patachous are a local chain of restaurants (I usually eat at the one at the Fashion Mall near Bed Bath and Beyond) with freshly made and quite tasty, breakfast and lunch items. I’ll admit, I have never actually eaten breakfast here, as I really like their lunch items. I certainly have my favorite things, but I have tried several items.
I will start with the soups. At my location, their house soup is tomato artichoke which is really tasty. They serve it with a bit of cheese and croutons on top and I really like the way you can taste the artichokes, both in flavor and texture. They also alternate a soup of the day, my favorite of which is the broccoli gorgonzola-- rich, creamy and delicious. They are well known for the freshly made soups, and have won a few awards with them I believe.
The salads are also quite good, and DEFINITELY big enough for an entrée. I love the cobb salad with shredded chicken, avocado, egg and nice big crumbles of blue cheese. I like that it is not the typical cobb which is lettuce packed to the top of a bowl with all the other ingredients layered on top which makes it hard to get it mixed –I like a bite of everything on my fork. Their dressings are all top notch as well. Another nice thing here is that you can get ½ a sandwich or soup and mix it with a smaller portion of any of their salads, even the ones with all the goodies, which is somewhat unusual (usually you just get the boring house salad when you get such a combo).
Probably my favorite (and most often ordered) item on the menu is the egg salad sandwich. Their egg salad is prepared exactly how I like it, just eggs, mayo and salt and fresh cracked black pepper. No celery. I can’t stand celery in my egg salad. A little celery salt maybe, but no big crunchy bits. Anyway, I have had other sandwiches as well, my second favorite probably being the broken yolk sandwich with egg, cheese, avocado and bacon. Delish. On a side note, I usually have a problem with any sandwich place that does not offer avocado on things. That can be a deal breaker. I love avocado. On just about anything.
The only downside in my mind to their sandwiches is the bread. Not that it isn’t good tasting, because it is, but it is simply too thick. Just throws the proportions off I think. Often, I take off half the bread and eat it open face. Which is sort of funny because at Petite Chou, their French bistro version of the chous, they serve several of their sandwiches as “tartines” which are basically open faced sandwiches, except the bread here is sliced thinner. So when they actually serve it open face, you could actually deal with both slices, but when they serve it as a regular sandwich, there is too much bread. Something to ponder.
Anyway, this place is as close to what I would make at home for lunch if I had more time and the ingredients are fresh and wholesome. Another bonus, they have a little play area (at least at mine and I think at most of their locations) for the kids which is nice, especially when you have to wait, which actually brings up the other downside here. You often have to wait to get a table. I don’t usually go on the weekends for this reason, and tend to eat on the early side on the other days. You can also order to go and they are very fast.
8691 River Crossing Blvd
http://www.cafepatachou.com/ (check the website for all locations)