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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Rabbit Redux

Shirley Corriher is one woman who knows the hows and whys of good baking. So when she offered to take me to lunch at a new restaurant where she claims she “can’t get enough of the pie crust,” I suspected she had made a great find. Indeed, I think she has.

Café Lapin, in the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center, has been open just five weeks, but already has baked goods to compete with any in town. Co-owner/baker Mattie Hines also runs Le Lapin Café in the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center nearby. He has already made a name for his chocolate chip cookies — huge, super thin and chewy-gooey in all the right places. His Valrhona chocolate chunk brownies are also notable for their dense yet perfectly melting texture. I’m thinking it’s the best brownie I’ve ever eaten. 

But the biggest swoons should be saved for Hines’ pie crust, which is crisp, tender, flaky and as buttery as any I’ve ever had. The best way to sample it is in one of the daily quiches, which are blessedly not deep dish. You get a wide slice with a tremulous custard just set inside that amazing crust. 

The selection of pies that serve as a centerpiece to the dining room are also worth exploring. The apple pie has a flaky, savory cheddar crust, while the blueberry crumb pie has a fantastic, not-too-sweet flavor. 

When I asked Hines about the secret to his crust recipe, I was thrilled to hear that he sticks to basics. White Lily flour, very cold butter, salt and enough ice water to pull it together in a standing mixer. But he has worked on the recipe so long that he has the feel. No shortening, no shortcuts. 

The cafe serves breakfast, lunch and a small dinner menu. At night, it’s currently BYOB, with no corkage fee. 

Lunch, as you might guess, is a total hen house. I noted that to Shirley, who countered, “Oh, no! Men come in all the time!” She scanned the room and found precisely one other dude.

Specialties include five kinds of chicken salad, including a very tasty one with bits of dried apricot. Flavors here are as soft and genteel as a well powdered nose. The waiter even warns guests that the jalapeño chicken salad isn’t at all spicy.

But those pies are something to be reckoned with. In a city where it can be awfully hard to find a good slice of pie, I think we’ve got a new gold standard. 

By the way, Café Lapin doesn’t yet have a sign. It can be a little hard to find.

 

Baked Goods To Go

Baked Goods To Go

5 comments Add your comment

palmer fralick

March 9th, 2009
8:46 pm

I’m definitely not a hen and have eaten at the Pen quite a few times already. All the food is excellent and freshly made. They are getting a well justified rep for the quality of the desserts but the daily fare is worth the trip.

James

March 11th, 2009
4:33 pm

Cafe Lapin is a true gem in Buckhead. I cannot get enough of the place. The dinner menu seems to change nightly and always has something new and delicious! You may want to make reservations to assure yourself a table. A+

judi bartels

March 11th, 2009
4:35 pm

Love the food….everything tastes like you went home for lunch that mom made…………and she can cook!!!!!!!!!!!! I could eat there everyday.

jkessler

March 11th, 2009
4:46 pm

I really look forward to trying dinner but am afraid I won’t be able to go back without gorging on brownies.

Jeannie Barry

May 2nd, 2010
4:52 pm

Unfortunately, I do not have a review of the food at this restaurant because the wait staff was so rude to my group of friends that we left! One of the women in my group had been there before and suggested eating there during an early “Mother’s Day” trip to the Princess Diana exhibit at the Civic Center today. She had gushed about the french ambiance and delicious food so we all decided to give it a try.

We were not greeted by any waitstaff and went to seat ourselves but the only table that could accomodate all five of us we not cleared yet. A male employee came up to us and told us we could pull two smaller tables together because “it would take a while” to clear the other larger table. The restaurant was not full and it was noon on a Sunday so they should have been better prepared for a lunch crowd. Even if they were short-staffed, if the man had cracked a smile we would have overlooked this rudeness.
When asking for another brunch menu the waitress rolled her eyes at us and said “What do you want?”. It was the most rude waitstaff I have ever encountered. We ended up leaving after our waters and iced teas arrived and encountered After my sister-in-law asked who the manager was and he replied with “you are looking at it” and told us that “maybe this wasn’t the restaurant for us we definitely left. I guess they just didn’t need our money…
It was the most appalling service I have ever encountered– if they treat people like that no amount of wonderful food will keep this business from failing. Shame on you Cafe Lapin!! I am telling everyone I know to NOT patronize your restaurant!!