Smile Politely

The Bread Company brings on the cheese

Ordinarily a frigid and snowy Friday evening would have me in my pajamas by 6 p.m. with a glass of wine in hand and pizza on the way. However, the lure of melty cheese pulled me through the tundra and into to the coziness of The Bread Company. I love Bread Co. It’s for sure one of my top five favorites in C-U, and is probably pretty damn close to the top of the list. Therefore I don’t really need Restaurant Week as an excuse to dine there, but it was an easy choice of places to review.

Their Restaurant Week menu is meant for sharing between two people, so if you go with the intent of ordering their RW specials, then have a date or a buddy who is also committed to trying the prix fixe menu. For $35, you get the choice of two first course items (mixed field greens, lemon garlic baby greens, or goat cheese bruschetta), either raclette or fondue to share, and your choice of two desserts (zabaglione, an Italian custard, or chocolate bread pudding).

I have had both the mixed greens and the lemon garlic greens. The former is good, but the latter is a-mazing. It made our latest BEST Food & Drink list and the 2016 version as well.

Since my husband will not go for goat cheese (for shame!) and I don’t love olives, we didn’t try the bruschetta. If that is your thing, you could easily share a salad and the bruschetta to maximize your tasting options. I will say I’m relatively obsessed with the goat cheese croquettes on their regular appetizer menu, so you should definitely seek those out on a non-RW excursion.

We both went with the lemon garlic greens, and as usual it did not disappoint. It’s a sizable portion, the equivalent of the “small” on their menu, which is really not small at all. It’s a simple salad, which quite often simple salads are the best salads. It’s just greens, a smattering of grape tomatoes (cut in half thankfully…I detest whole tomatoes on a salad or really any ingredient that I have to do the work of cutting into smaller bites), capers, parmesan, and house made croutons. The dressing, of course, is what defines this salad. It’s so flavorful and tangy, almost shockingly so the first time you take a bite. It’s an excellent choice for the RW menu, because really everyone should try it.

Course two was a selection between melty cheese and melty cheese. While some might lament not having a different sort of entree option here, perhaps something with meat, I think it’s not a bad thing that Bread Co. chose to showcase two items that they are well-known for. I’ve had both, and both are great, but we went with the raclette this time. Raclette is a uniquely Swiss dish, and it is wonderful. You are presented with a large cast skillet with melted raclette, toasted bread, herbed roasted potatoes, and cornichons (tasty miniature pickles) and pickled onions. Bread Co serves their roasted potatoes with numerous dishes, and they are heavenly on their own, but topped with that mild, creamy cheese, sigh.

The first two courses left us with just enough room for the third, and we ordered one of each dessert item. This was the only part of the meal I was a little disappointed with. While I enjoyed the rich chocolate flavor and the fresh whipped cream of the bread pudding, it was much too dry. I shouldn’t be able to pick up a piece of it with my fingers and eat it without a mess, and it was quite easy to do so. It did not have that custard-soaked texture that it should have. The zabaglione was much better. It was light and lemony and refreshing.

As you consider your options for dining out during the remainder of Restaurant Week, you should definitely put The Bread Company on your list. 

Visit Champaign County’s Restaurant Week is January 25th through February 2nd.

Bread Company
706 S Goodwin Ave
M-Th 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
F + Sa 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Su 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. + 5 to 10 p.m.

Photos by Julie McClure

Staff writer

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