Dining with Boston Globe food critic Bob Levy several years ago, we were served a simple-looking bread which I remarked was exquisite.
Bob replied that "Bread is usually the last thing a restaurant attends to, but if the bread is good, everything else will be good as well."
The crusty, sourdough bread we were served at Pain D'Avignon is unbelievably good. And if you don't think bread is divine, witness the fact that in the Lord's Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread.
A "Bread Ballet"
Pain D’Avignon's breads have been one of New England’s hidden gems for twenty years, and it has become the destination for European-style breads and pastries fanciers.
Manager Mario took us for a tour of the huge bakery which is visible from the restaurant. The hundreds of workers swing wooden pallets with loaves from oven to cooling rack in a what my wife Patricia called a "Bread Ballet".
Four years ago Pain D’Avignon added a boulangerie-cafe offering casual breakfast and lunch as well as the cozy, candlelit feel and authentic flavor of a Parisian bistro by night featuring French and Mediterranean inspired menus.
Open 7 days a week, the bakery bakes 200 freshly baked breads and pastries every day for over 300 restaurants and retail locations in New England.
What we dined on
Patricia considers Foie Gras the prince of all food, and she started with the Pain D’Avignon's pan seared foie gras, served with seasonal jam over a buttered brioche, $17.
She separated the two and relished the Foie Gras by itself while I enjoyed her homemade Fig Jam covered brioche.
I started with Huîtres au Four - local oysters, baked with leeks, Pernod,
Parmesan cheese and house-made bacon, $15. They were mouth-watering in their cheesy perfection.
Patricia followed with Homard Poché - a casserole of shelled butter-poached lobster, chantarelles, roasted garlic, grilled lemon & house-made Pappardelle noodles, $35.
I tried the Gyro Haché Grillé - a gyro-spiced lamb & beef burger with spicy pickles & house-made tatziki, on a caramelized onion focaccia bun with pommes frites, $21 to my great satisfaction.
Pain D'Avignon is a bakery and a cafe, and I have to say the French bread is among the best you'll have anywhere. The food is top notch, perfectly done.
Although not a lengthy menu, the ten entrees and a dozen appetizers are all wonderful culinary creations. As the name suggests, they specialize in artisan breads, which come to your table as accompaniment to dinner, or as part of your sandwich at lunch.
The wine list is truly extensive, especially from a small, intimate bistro like this one.
If you go, you'll most likely go back again - it's that good.
I judge a restaurant by the bread and by the coffee. Both were perfect at Pain D'Avignon.
The restaurant is a bit hard to find, tucked away as it is in an industry dead end street next to the Hyannis airport, thus the map we supply below to help you discover this great bistro.
Pain D’Avignon, 15 Hinckley Road, Hyannis, 508-778-8588.
Open for Breakfast and Lunch served Tuesday-Sunday 7am-4pm, Monday 7am-6pm, and Dinner Tuesday - Sunday 5pm-10pm. Late night bar menu served until Midnight. Closed Monday Nights.