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Article posted: 7/10/2013 6:00 AM

Paris Bistro brings casual French fare to Naperville


Cute is one way to describe Paris Bistro. Tasty is another.

A newcomer on Naperville's scene since spring, Paris Bistro, 2835 Showplace Drive, dishes up authentic French faves, plus rotisserie-grilled meat and crepes of the sweet and savory variety.

Meanwhile, the setting is Euro-chic with whimsical-meets sophisticated touches. Adding to the appeal, it's an intimate affair that can be both casual and romantic, depending on the time of day.

For the most part, the menu reads typical French, though there are detours along the way. Some advice: stick with what they know in favor of a banh mi. Of course, if you have a hankering for fried green tomatoes (it just so happens we did), go for it since these are lightly breaded with a Champagne-crepe batter and served with spicy aioli. If you're wise, you'll add some lemon-licked olives, stippled with rosemary and thyme, as well. Then, proceed to the indulgent Lyonnaise salad, made with frisee, baby arugula and nubs of bacon. Its yolky poached egg and warm parsley vinaigrette combine components both uber-rich and bright.

Other first-course options include tuna tartare with citrus soy, wine-steeped mussels with garlic, herb and "farm butter" accents and charred beef carpaccio, shaved thin and finished with herbaceous olive oil. Naturally, French onion soup is an option, too.

We moved on to the particularly enjoyable steak frites, which arrived with a flavorful char and melty maitre d'hotel butter. What we loved most of all, though, was the moist, lemon-infused rotisserie chicken, which benefits from a brine soak. Get it in whole or half portions. Then again, Saturday night's rotisserie duck with roasted carrots, cassoulet beans and red wine sauce alone may warrant another visit.

Whether you settle on pan-roasted salmon in herb cream sauce, sauteed trout almondine or an inviting burger topped with bacon, brie, caramelized red onions and Dijonnaise, there's something for most tastes and budgets.

Continuing on, we couldn't pass up its main thrust: delicate (and gluten-free) crepes. The Mona Lisa is a winner, one tucked with bits of rotisserie chicken, mushrooms and artichokes and finished with sun-dried tomato, spinach and indulgent garlic-basil cream sauce.

If it's something sweet you crave, however, the addictive "creme de la creme" feels right, given its creme brulee-inspired caramelization and banana and Chantilly cream components. There are berry and Nutella versions, too.

But you could always veer in the direction of a cheese plate with house-made jam and grilled baguette. Or choose from the gelato selection, especially when the banana fudge is offered.

Morning people will find a lineup of egg dishes, quiche and omelets. A good wine selection and creative cocktails make it a particularly appealing place to linger as the day wears on. Cheery, if slightly harried, service further ensures repeat visits.

• Restaurant reviews are based on one anonymous visit. The Daily Herald does not publish reviews of restaurants it cannot recommend.

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