Paris Bistro—Cannes Do

September 2013 View more



Photos by Greg Shapps

The glamour of the French Riviera is a long way, and more than just geographically, from the suburban milieu of

DuPage County. But there’s something serendipitous about the seemingly unremarkable location of the recently opened Paris Bistro in South Naperville. While the utilitarian corporate design of the nearby AMC Showplace 16 multiplex that anchors this sprawling retail complex hardly captures the red carpet pageantry of one of the world’s most famous film festivals, the juxtaposition of cinema and French cuisine nevertheless lends the place a certain Cannes cache. In fact, given the first date and drinks or desserts only business that Paris Bistro stands to attract as a result of its proximity to the entertainment behemoth just to its west, the analogy is apt from not only a cultural, but a commercial standpoint as well.

French Connection


One thing that those pre-theater and post-theater patrons won’t find waiting at Paris Bistro is intimacy. This is a small room that packs a lot into its limited square footage, from the patisserie and gelato bar up front, to several small party tables around the perimeter, to a long high top communal table running down the middle beneath a few chandeliers. Yet, despite the compact space, one doesn’t get the feeling of claustrophobia, but rather a coziness that suggests the perfect place to dissect the symbolism of the latest entry in the “Fast & Furious” series over some pate and a glass of fine wine, or better yet, to simply write one’s own original romantic scene.

The menu, too, follows the script of doing more with less. Rather than an extensive laundry list of French favorites, the slate here is instead a well-chosen collection of broad crowd pleasers and a few smaller indie gems and surprises. While crepes make their requisite appearance in both sweet and savory forms, so too do a variety of sandwiches, a handful of rotisserie items, and even a few brunch options.

Opening and Closing Credits

N2013_09_01_008TABLEFrom a cast of appetizers that includes mussels, a charcuterie plate, and a cheese array among others, we started with an order of the pommes croquettes – three little fried footballs of truffled potato puree, each topped with a dollop of zesty sweet pepper mayo. Neither too much nor too little, these crispy dumplings made for an ideal opening course. From there, we opted for a couple of standbys in the entrée department – a substantial Mona Lisa crepe layered with rotisserie chicken, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach and topped with a light garlic basil cream, and a straightforward portion of beef roast from the rotisserie, served alongside roasted fingerling potatoes and sautéed spinach. In both cases, the simplicity was the draw, particularly with the tender beef, which stood deliciously in little more than its own juices, a few herbs and some cracked black pepper its lone accoutrements.

N2013_09_01_007TABLEOf course, those looking for just a little sweet taste of France will find plenty to consider among the many dessert and coffee selections at Paris Bistro. The gelato spread alone might prove overwhelming to an indecisive diner, with a baker’s dozen of fresh flavors available on the night we visited. Then there are the four sweet crepe options from the regular menu to consider, the most interesting of which had to be the monkey n’ nuts, with nutella, bananas, dark chocolate and chocolate gelato. But we couldn’t resist the seemingly endless possibilities in the ever-changing patisserie case, finally settling on a rich peanut butter mousse and a warm mint-chocolate brownie served with vanilla bean gelato.

The final review? We can’t wait to see this show again.

Paris Bistro
2835 Showplace Drive