I have a soft spot for a Croque Madame!
Tartine is a new(er) restaurant in Clive. Opened in the former Shane’s Rib Shack with a collaboration of the former Shane’s owners and the owners of Baru 66 in Windsor Heights. My initial thought was Tartine would be a nice addition to the local food landscape for geting some quick French Bistro fare in a strip mall.
After eating at Cuisine de Bar in Paris, the name certainly caught my attention. We decided to stop here one night for dinner.
The restaurant offers breakfast all day including fresh-baked French pastries. Tartines are featured on the menu. A tartine is a sandwich which is lightly grilled and served open-faced. There are a few options including one with ham, brie, and a drizzling of honey. They also offer small plates, salads, burgers, dinner entrees, and even a kids menu. The staff was welcoming, very friendly, and willing to answer any of our questions. In this restaurant you place and pay for your order right away. Then it is brought to your table using a numbering system.
We arrived at dinner. We decided on two items. The first being the Steak Frites from the dinner menu, which is available after 4pm. The price was $14 and included a side of soup or salad. The steak was cooked precisely to a medium rare and the fries were hot, crispy, and seasoned. We are in Iowa so there was a side of ketchup served with the entree, but I would have preferred garlic butter or a side of mayonnaise as an accompaniment for this dish.
Our second choice was a Croque Madame with Mushroom soup as a side for $9.
The Croque Madame was born out of the bistro’s of Paris as a “fast food.” Basically, it is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with a bechamel sauce and a fried egg. If you ordered the sandwich sans the fried egg you would have a Croque Monsieur.
The soup was creamy, with an earthy mushroom flavor, an excellent side to the sandwich.
The eggs were cooked perfectly for this rich sandwich. A fork and a knife were a necessity to enjoy this rich treat. Great bread, good ham, tangy cheese, bechamel and a couple of eggs. It was delicious and worth the $9.
As we all know, restaurants are all about location. In my opinion, I think there could be a bit more visibility about this restaurant to garner some more support due to it being tucked away from the main street. I have only visited the restaurant at dinner time, so perhaps it does pick up during the lunch hour. When we dined there were only a few patrons in the restaurant. I think some locals can be confused about what a “tartine” is and the prices may detract some for the type of restaurant. During this experience I felt we received a great value for our dinner.
We have returned one more time since my initial review. We did find the same level of service and the same level of patrons. This time we ordered a burger sampler and found some ingredients didn’t match the description on the menu. We felt a bit confused and that we were missing out on something. It wasn’t the type of issue for which I would complain.
Overall, if we find ourselves in the area, we would give this place another try, especially if I have a craving for a Croque Madame.
Tartine, 12695 University Avenue, Clive, Iowa