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Cafe Lapin: stay for dessert

Window display at Cafe Lapin: scarier than Donnie Darko

Window display at Cafe Lapin: scarier than Donnie Darko

Usually I’m not a fan of restaurants with elaborate displays of stuffed bunnies in the window, but I’ll make an exception for Cafe Lapin. This restaurant in the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center attracts a healthy crowd of women in large groups and well-dressed older couples for food like this:

IMG_8909We’re looking at pulled chicken salad (here jalapeño, but there’s also curry, tarragon and other flavors) served with banana bread and greens with a house balsamic dressing so sweet it makes the sweet tea taste un-. The plate also holds a pale, ridged orange orb.

Here’s a closer look:

IMG_8912It’s called “mandarin orange soufflé,” but is really one of the last congealed salads in town: Cream, sugar, gelatin and syrupy segmented goodness.

One bite and I felt like I was seven again, and the congealed salad was the only upside to the horror of lunch with my mother and her friends at the Lord & Taylor cafe.

It was strangely delicious in its wiggly way, and it serves as a cornerstone to the most dessert-like entree in the city of Atlanta.

In fact, after a meal like this you might just look at the dessert display set up in front the kitchen and snort in derision.

You’d be making a mistake.

The layer cakes and cookies here are worth the splurge, with the kinds of textures and flavors that show real Southern pedigree.

IMG_8913Both the chocolate and caramel cakes above have a soft, soft crumb and little flecks of vanilla bean seed in the batter. The light, creamy caramel frosting definitely dates to the era before caramel met salt. The chocolate has a richer flavor than your typical cocoa frosting, with a bittersweet edge that works well alongside the tender cake.

IMG_8914Both the cookies we tried were fantastic. The sugar cookies come with a tart, true lemon-juice glaze, while the oatmeal cookies were unusual. They looked sleek and shiny and broke open to reveal hollow crags studded with chocolate chips, nuts and dried cranberries. I’m guessing a little meringue figured into the recipe.

If you like classic desserts done right and want to witness the hilarious orange orb, then you should go.

Cafe Lapin: 2341 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, 404-812-9171. The website does not work.

- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog

2 comments Add your comment

Ned Ludd

November 14th, 2013
3:33 pm

Thanks John–Enjoy going here with my Mom and her pals who still live in the neighborhood when she is in town visiting. Add little hooks for the ladies to hang their handbags from the tables and you have The Magnolia Room at Rich’s that she and I went to so many times. Chicken salad sure brings back memories. Good food, wonder if they cater.

Joyce Shlesinger

November 16th, 2013
9:25 am

Yes they do cater! What would I do without Le Lapin? My favorite neighborhood spot and Dinner is delicious too.
Joyce Shlesinger