The executive taste buds of Cafe Rouge

When you feel like enjoying a delicious meal of local, organic, and seasonal ingredients, head to 4th Street's Café Rouge. Dishes range from rustic Mediterranean to classic American and are not only beautifully presented, but they taste as good as they look, because each dish is perfectly crafted by Rick DeBeaord, the Executive Chef.

Chef DeBeaord grew up in Lincoln, Southern California, a small farming community where he gained a respect for farmers and the great food they produce. Today, his dishes feature seasonal produce offered at the local Monterey Market. Menus change every other week to highlight the freshest local ingredients.

When asked about where he draws his greatest inspiration from, DeBeaord explains, “my biggest inspiration for the menus is the traveling I’ve done, and cookbooks… chefs need to read otherwise everything becomes stale.”

DeBeaord draws much of his inspiration from trips to Italy as well. He especially appreciates the “simplicity of their food and the freshness of it… they’re very seasonal and they’re not pretentious, as French food can be.”

With the current economic downturn, DeBeaord has reformatted his menu “so people can come out to eat good food.” Oysters for example are $1.00 each on Tuesdays through Thursdays from 5:30 to 9:30pm.

In addition to delectable Mediterranean entrees and small plates, Café Rouge offers American dishes like burgers, hot dogs, and ribs made with organic and sustainably produced meat. At Café Rouge “everything is made in house from scratch.” And, it’s nice to know it’s only a bus ride away.

Here are some pictures from my most recent visit:

Melisa Lin and friends at the Café Rouge bar

Wild arugula, bacon, shallots and Truffle Tremor (right); House-made charcuterie plate: rabbit rillettes, duck pâté and chicken liver pâté (left); Vegetable stew with San Joaquin Gold cheese dumplings (background center)

Grilled bavette steak, fragola, baby leeks and wild mushrooms (left); ½ lb Rouge hamburger and sautéed beet greens (front right); Grilled rabbit, braised bacon, artichokes, fingerling potatoes and broccoli rabe (back)

Melisa Lin
President, Cal Cooking Club

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