Feeling a little saucy? It’s time for a trip to Piquant in Hyde Park Village. This engaging bistro/boulangerie/pastisserie is French-inspired in decorating style and fare, but you can leave your French-English dictionary at home. It’s a restaurant, a bar, a bakery and a pastry shop, and they do it all well. And without the interminable flight overseas.

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My wife and I visited Piquant the Friday evening that Hurricane Matthew was scouring the east coast of Florida. Though plenty of indoor seating was available, we sat on the covered outdoor patio at the sidewalk overlooking Snow Avenue. This is a great place for leisurely dining and people-watching. The patio has seating for as many as forty, and well-behaved four-legged friends are welcome.

The Beginning

We started with wine (of course) and the Broiled Oysters Mariniere. These beauties came sitting on a board, each shell on its own little mound of salt and with a lemon wedge nearby. They were a taste delight, broiled with Pernod, cream, leeks, garlic, thyme, and gruyere cheese. I mopped up the remaining juices with a bit of the lightly toasted bread rounds. I only wished there had been more juices to soak up.

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The Middle

For a main course I had the Rib Eye Poutine, and my wife had the Roasted Butternut Squash Salad. The Niman Ranch rib eye was perfectly done, and arrived atop a mound of French fries, French-Canadian-style, laced with a demi-glace sauce and more melted gruyere cheese. The salad is my wife’s favorite; a nice mix of greens with delicious cubed butternut squash, cubed chicken, pecans, cranberries, and sweet/tangy raspberry vinaigrette. Light and perfect for a warm Florida evening.

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In prior visits to Piquant we’ve fallen in love with the Moules et Frites (mussels enjoying the same sauce treatment as the oysters but without the gruyere, plus French fries). Can’t go wrong with these! The Niman Ranch burgers (Piquant Burger with red-wine onion confit, and Burger Americain with Niman Ranch bacon and hand-crafted pickles) are excellent, too. I also love the Chorizo and Goat Cheese Flatbread with cilantro pesto and balsamic glaze.

There many more intriguing choices of entrees, sandwiches and small-plates to try; we’re already planning a return trip. There’s no way to do justice to the breadth of the menu in this small review. I definitely see the Croquettes de Yucca (yucca and bacon croquettes) and La Monique (tuna tartare with sea salt and capers) in my future.

They’ve got various gluten-free and vegetarian options, too. And, they do serve breakfast with a variety of unique offerings.

The End

I know – “What about the desserts?” you ask. They look tremendous, as do the items in the Pastisserie case. We just never have the room to indulge after our dinners. It would be worth the trip just for dessert, such as after a movie at Cinebistro (Piquant closes at 8 Sunday thru Wednesday, 9 Thursday thru Saturday).

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With all the publicity surrounding the recent restaurant openings in the Village it is easy to overlook the great restaurants that have been there for years. Do not overlook Piquant! Piquant is located on Snow Avenue at the south end of Hyde Park Village, just steps from the south parking garage.

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