Café Monte

Cafe MonteIn a city recently bereft of a good, solid French restaurant, Café Monte is a welcome addition. Monte Smith, longtime general manager at The Palm, opened his namesake earlier this year, and it's a dead ringer for a Parisian brasserie, right down to the art nouveau font. Actually, it's two classic French restaurant styles in one. A café occupies the front, complete with an espresso bar and a glass pastry case laden with croissants and macaroons. Beyond that, you're transported to France via large mirrors, dark hardwood floors, big wooden chairs, golden walls, and artwork depicting French cathedrals.

During weekend brunch, the country club set sits comfortably near yuppies in dark jeans and no socks. Crêpes are a good bet, especially the smoked ham and egg with a four-cheese cream sauce. There are also omelets, quiches, and, yes, French toast. More crêpes dot the combined lunch and dinner menu, along with salads and sandwiches, including an excellent take on the classic croque monsieur. Expect lunch and brunch items to be less than $10. Among the entrées are classic dishes including trout almandine, steak frites, short ribs beef bourguignon, and a tasty duck confit, plus intriguing French-style pizzas.

6700 Fairview Rd. (704-552-1116) $$, BF, L, D, FSB, P, R. Open every day.