As a proliferation of fine dining establishments stake their territory in Lafayette, Metro retains its loyal following. Sure, Metro regulars have had a fling or two with the other hot spots in town - such as an acoustically challenged place down the road, and a dubiously hip scene around the corner. But, like many affairs, the flirtation tends to be brief and trifling, and those who stray return home.
Metro has been a Lamorinda mainstay for seven years and, by all indications during several recent visits, demand for a table is as high as it’s ever been. Families, couples of all ages, boys and girls night-out participants, birthday celebrants, and NBA broadcasters and Hall-of-Famers have all been spotted.
As with any restaurant, popularity can be gauged by three very general and essential ingredients, and Metro is tops in each:
1) AMBIENCE: While it’s true that newer restaurants in town have a high “see and be-seen” quotient, Metro has THE PATIO. Al fresco dining has never been more lovely; Mulberry trees, lavender, rosemary bushes, trellised vines and magical twinkle lights set the relaxed yet sophisticated tone. Inside, the cool and sleek stainless-steel-topped bar welcomes guests into the paradoxical oasis; Yes, you are in the suburbs, but Metro’s vibe is decidedly urban. In colder months, the fireplace room, decorated with scenes of Paris, keeps diners warm and cozy. Bonus: the friendly, professional and non-intrusive wait staff.
2) FOOD: Executive Chef Steve Jaramillo’s simple, rustic brasserie-style dishes are influenced by the cuisines of France, California and the Mediterranean, featuring the seasonal ingredients of Northern California. He uses local, organic produce and sustainable humanely raised meats and fishes. Several menu items have been mainstays and fan favorites for years, such as the incredible tuna poke, the peach bruschetta and the crispy brussel sprouts with aioli dipping sauce. Many patrons make a meal on the wonderful appetizers alone. But the main courses are equally as tasty; Metro’s menu has something for everyone - from a classic burger to the freshest fish.
3) DRINKS: Owner Jack Moore knows his wines, and the extensive wine list reflects his knowledge. Cocktails feature award-winning recipes developed in-house and utilize fresh seasonal ingredients and house-made infusions. A favored specialty cocktail is the ‘Chipotle Pear,’ featuring Grey Goose La Poire vodka, lemon juice, housemade chipotle syrup and poire liqueur. Another favorite is the ‘Dark and Stormy:’ Goslings Black Seal Rum, organic lime juice and ginger beer. Happy Hour drink and snack specials are offered Monday through Friday from 3 – 6pm.
“Our hope was to capture some of our favorite memories of Paris and the French countryside through our menu, decor and ambiance," says co-owner Erika Pringsheim-Moore. Metro succeeds, and then some.