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In Dining

Le Reve serves French classics in downtown Wauwatosa.

In Dining

With imported French ingredients, Le Reve bakes everything in-house from scratch.

In Dining

Le Reve's two-level layout includes additional upstairs seating.

Le Reve lures patrons with French favorites


If Le Reve aims for the feel of the French brasseries conjured up in images by such artists as Jules Cheret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, they nailed it to a tee.

Everything about this French patisserie says relaxation, from the slow moving ceiling fans to the emphasis on coffee and dessert. In true European style, the all-day hours encourage patrons to linger -- occasionally ordering and reordering coffee, bakery and assuredly a meal -- over good conversation and authentic food.

Loads of fresh bakery and desserts are incased in two large glass coolers. With the exception of the bread, all bakery and desserts are made in-house from scratch. Like any true French patisserie, the bakery chefs add a distinctive touch to recipes for favorites such as beignets, macaroons and crème brulee.

Staples of French culinary cuisine, the quiche, crepes and sandwiches offer a balance between lunch and dinner style entrees. The Jamon et Fromage fills a homemade crepe with ham, brie, carmelized onions and a creamy mustard sauce.

Pork, ham, beef and chicken sandwiches feature authentic French cheeses. Likewise, Le Reve incorporates seasonal ingredients and daily specials; coinciding with longstanding French ideals of shifting variation.

Le Reve's quiches include savory combinations of ham, gruyere, leeks, brie and bacon. A hand-picked list of European wines and beers compliments the menu.

Simple in concept, the pesto, tomato and brie sandwich is certainly complex in taste. Hardy layers of tomato, smothered in a juicy pesto paste and covered with a thick slab of imported brie cheese are served over an incredibly soft French baguette. Served with your choice of mixed green salad or pommes frites, dishes are perfectly proportioned.

French Macaroons, a customer favorite, are firmly moist with two small cake cookies separated by a thickly whipped dollop of cream and augmented with flavors of gingerbread, pistachio, lemon verbena and orange.

"French is what we know. I've been doing French pastries for awhile and we've all been doing French cooking for awhile. It's just what we're good at," Andy Schneider, Le Reve co-owner, explains.

Schneider, along with partners Therese Hittman and Bryan Phylips, worked in kitchens throughout the city before deciding to venture into business on their own earlier this summer.

"Our specialty is anything French. We wanted to keep it really simple, nothing too fancy, something that people can keep coming back a few times a week for," Schneider explains. "We've designed everything to be just very good tasting and simple."

The Wauwatosa location, which Schneider, Hittman and Phylips completely gutted and renovated, was designed by Sharon Celek and features a bi-level layout with enormous windows opening up the front dining room and an upper balcony seating area in the back. A removed drop ceiling revealed a full two-story ceiling and exposed cream city brick tinged slightly black by a previously applied adhesive.

"We found the space and it was a great looking and a little over a hundred years old. Wauwatosa is a demographic we like, so it just worked for us. Lunch has been very good and we just started dinners a few weeks ago," Schneider explains.

Iron base pedestal tables with petite wooden chairs are arrayed throughout both the lower and upper dining rooms. The walls are lined with rounded mirrors, small Parisian-like street lights and thin brass railing giving patrons the impression of a European style café.

"We're just really exciting to be bringing something new into the area," Schneider explains.


Talkbacks

buckshowalter | Feb. 10, 2009 at 3:32 p.m. (report)

Love the atmosphere and food. Opera torte is wonderful. Salad Nicoise is great, tuna that was served with it was cooked perfectly. Steak sandwich with Pomme Frites was very good. My wife loved the clafoutis shed had at last visit. But I have one criticism. I fully understand that there is going to be a markup on wine but the markup on the list at Le Reve seems extreme. The list seems to average close to $8 a glass. A bottle of La Vielle Ferme ros can be had at numerous retail locations for less than the single glass at Le Reve.

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RJ | Sept. 23, 2008 at 11:08 p.m. (report)

Great place--excellent opera cakes!

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swami says | Sept. 9, 2008 at 10:46 a.m. (report)

Would you please open on Sunday? It's such a great place... and I would go a lot more if it were open on Sunday. With the number of churches in that neighborhood, it seems like a shoe-in.

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