Here is the best part about being grown up:
You can toss your mom’s advice and eat dessert first.
And at Cafe a La C’Art, 150 N. Main Ave., the temptation to do just that is great.
The glass case near the cash register is loaded with seductive sweets that beckon and beg to be devoured.
Savor that thought; we’ll come back to the desserts.
Although long admired as a lunch hot spot that serves up voluptuous sandwiches, owner Judith Michelet added breakfasta few years back and bravely began serving dinner last June. Bravely, because June is usually the time of year that Tucson becomes a near ghost town.
A recent dinner there began with the bruschetta appetizer ($11) that celebrated the most happy marriage of port-poached figs with bacon and cheeses.The toppings were copious — lots of those swoonable figs, a creamy gorgonzola, a barely nutty fontina and crispy applewood bacon, all topped by Parmesan and seated on a toasted baguette. Some might say overkill, but we say hurrah. The flavors played off of each other, as did the textures. It’s an appetizer to be shared, but you may not want to.
Entrees here are big, and not terribly dolled up. The grilled rib-eye ($19), thin, tender and buttery, was drowning in a sauce chock-full of wild mushrooms and spiked with ancho chiles. There was a smoky underline to the thick sauce, and we must admit to loving it, but the steak nearly disappeared under it. The zucchini on the side was cooked so that there was still a quiet snap.
There was also a too-generous hand with the sauce on the salmon ($18), which might have been all right if it had been the lemon beurre blanc promised on the menu. But the citrus in the sauce was orange. Lots of orange. And it just did not work with the moist, perfectly pan-roasted salmon.
But it is the grand finale, the desserts, that leave you with the sense that life is good. Really good. We are convinced of this: Pastry chef Lora Corella is a genius.
See the full review in Thursday's Caliente.