There are different ways of saying it, but whether you call it “Cape Time” or “Cape Pace”, one of the joys of surviving the traffic across the Bourne Bridge is that life moves a little slower than the city bustle once you reach the other side.
In a way, that’s the point. You escape with the idea of getting away from your cars, closed-toed shoes and other city ways of life. It’s the fact that you can wear shorts and go from beach to a patio somewhere for fried food and a beer with no worries. If you’re the type of person who goes crazy of a week of being too casual, that pace of life isn’t perfect – although, it’s still really quite good.
The fact is you don’t hear about the side of the Cape that caters beyond the flip flop crowd very often. It’s there, though, and after a trip to see some of that side of Cape Cod, maybe it’s worth packing that Saturday night best alongside a bathing suit for the next trip.
Pain D’Avignon invited a few media members to join them to sample some of the best of their menu last week, highlighted by additions from new executive chef Matthew Tropeano. I won’t pretend to play foodie, but I will admit that (a) I didn’t think I’d be able to get a dinner on the Cape without seafood* and (b) I was very satisfied after a solid artichoke salad and a fantastic pair of lamb chops.
*Complete aside, but context necessary: it’s not that I don’t like seafood, I just wouldn’t likely order it for myself. I’m a eater-of-grass-eaters type of guy.
I think the part that stands out to me wasn’t just the European style menu and commitment to a diverse menu, but the fact that this is the type of restaurant that you could easily wander into in the Back Bay or the South End. In fact, the overall experience reminded me of the Petit Robert Bistro I walk past every day on Columbus Ave. Beyond than the venue (I know Robert doesn’t have a wholesale bread operation in the back, but more on that later this week), the Cafe at Pain D’Avignon went a beyond the place up north through what felt to me to be more variety and an array of styles that went beyond the French menu.
I liked, more than anything, being surprised that there was a middle ground to Cape Pace, and the conversation I was lucky to have with Co-owner Vojin Vujosevic went down this path as we continued through wine, coffee and dessert**.
**Again, not a foodie, I just went with my heart and the crème brûlée.
You hear about the coffee shops or the main street dives from the Cape – none would ever really fit in up in downtown Boston, at least as a place you’d make a Saturday night date night destination. A restaurant like the front-of-shop at Pain D’Avignon? It would blend in more than nicely on the corner of Tremont somewhere. Vojin also is committed to providing that style and ambiance, including making sure that this isn’t the type of place you’d walk in from the beach. The staff will ask you to pull a hat, and don’t think about flip flops – and that’s a type of dining that is a change of pace on the Cape, for sure.
Maybe a Boston home is in the future for Pain. In the meantime, you’ll still have to head to Hyannis to enjoy the meal (and the glory of endless amounts of fresh bread).
Disclosure: Interviews for this post were conducted during a media dinner hosted by Pain D’Avignon, which included meals provided by the establishment.