A small pocket of Bridgeport hides a taste of France. Provence, to be exact.
The Provence Market Cafe is located in an unassuming strip at 603 S Virginia Ave. It's a small space, so reservations are probably a good idea on the weekend.
As soon as we stepped inside, the lady who was carrying trays in front set them down and asked if we had a reservation. When I replied that I did with my last name, she recognized the name immediately and ushered me and my friend to a table. I was a little surprised at the quick, attentive service. She literally stopped what she was doing as we entered (I feel most would continue carrying their tray and come back) and knew who was on the reservation list that night. As the night progressed, this woman wove in and out of the dining room as needed - serving, bussing, greeting folks. It was clear this woman was in charge and really cared about this restaurant.
The inside is a little fancy. Not too fancy. But it's pretty. Some kind of funky art with refined touches.
We were served some bread with sides of butter and tapenade. Love the tapenade. The menu has a bevy of French-inspired dishes like pate, carpaccio and brulee. For an appetizer, I ordered their soup du jour - which was roasted red pepper. At first, I was disappointed that it was barely filled halfway.
But then I took a sip of the soup.
Super creamy and flavorful. A nice peppery taste. I ate every last drop and then used some bread to finish it off. Delicious.
A small house salad preceded my main entree. Some greens, with a mushroom or two and some carrots in their house dressing. Light, but good.
For my main entree, I ordered Timothe's Seafood Pappardelle (and I learned how to pronounce pappardelle) with shrimp, scallops, mussels, white wine, garlic butter and pappardelle noodles. Light, but filling.
It was a nice change of pace from the otherwise heavy, thick cream sauces dumped on noodles. Not that I don't like that - but this was refreshing. The garlic and butter were perfect for the seafood. I was even a huge fan of the mussels. Great flavor, great quality, plus a little fresh tomato touch.
Though I was already stuffed, I wanted to try the dessert since the meal had been stellar thus far. I went for their sweet potato cheesecake, which had a layer of cheesecake, a layer of sweet potato, a brown sugar crunch and a maple topping with nuts. If you want to know what autumn embodied tastes like, eat this.
A fine restaurant not too far from Morgantown, Provence Market shines.