Will and I were super hyped to go eat lunch at this iconic Berkeley grub hub this past Friday. We wanted to take a fancy—well, as fancy as we could afford— break from culture‘s California office. Gregoire is a fancy takeout joint built out of a hole-in-the-wall that serves French-style cuisine. Living in Berkeley, I hear about it all the time, so when we got there, I wasn’t surprised to see there was a long line of people waiting out the door. Gregoire has a reputation as one of the best spots to eat in Berkeley’s “Gourmet Ghetto,” a phrase to describe the slightly more expensive dining experience offered on Berkeley’s northside. Will and I took our places in line outside, hungrily eyeing the food from already served Gregoire customers eating their lunch out on the sparse sitting area. The outer wall of the restaurant served as a long sliding window, where customers could watch the chefs preparing meals, and employees could stick out their heads shouting out whose order was up. In the cramped space inside Gregoire, there was just enough room for a cashier’s table and a bar with three stools for customers to “eat-in.” This was where Will and I sat (because it wasn’t hot enough for us outside in the sun, and we just felt like baking ourselves in front of the grill a little bit too #sarcasm).
Muggy heat aside, our lunch was delicious, and well worth the wait. Will got the baked leg of lamb with smoked gouda, green chilies, and onions on a ciabatta bun with a side of parmesan fries, while I tried the fried buttermilk chicken with spicy cole slaw on a French roll. The lamb on Will’s sandwich was tender, and tore apart easily, and the gouda was the perfect complimentary flavor to the richness of the meat. As for my sandwich, I ordered it thinking that it would be the chicken that made the meal, but I was surprised to find that the cole slaw was the flavor that made the sandwich stand out from other crispy chicken sandwiches. But of course, no trip to Gregoire is complete without ordering their crispy potato balls. They come with this creamy dipping spread that is incredibly tasty, and I personally know a lot of Berkeleyans who make the trip to Gregoire soley for this crispy snack.
Coming to Gregoire with my boss was a really awesome way to end the workweek. I got to eat all fancy on culture‘s card (intern perks!), and I got to spend some quality time with Will. Nothing beats a Friday afternoon enjoying the sweltering heat, food, and cramped kitchens of California.
Here’s a Gregoire-inspired recipe that I made in MY cramped, California kitchen:
- 4 chicken breast tenderloins
- ½ cup flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 baguette sandwich rolls
- White cheddar cheese (Croc)
- ¾ cup of mayo
- 2 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon of white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon of Tapatio
- Black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon of crushed garlic
- ½ tablespoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning
- Make Remoulade Sauce and put aside in the fridge to cool
- Toast bread in the oven.
- Rinse the defrosted chicken and pat dry.
- Take three separate bowls: one has the beaten eggs, one has the flour combined with 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, and one has the Panko bread crumbs. Cover the chicken breasts in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs.
- Fry the chicken in a pan with Canola oil on medium high heat until cooked through and crispy. Cook on one side for 3-5 minutes, if golden brown, flip over.
- Prepare your sandwich by spreading the remoulade in the bread, add in the chicken with cheese and arugula on top.