On a slushy winter night, the dimly lit and quite romantic Q Consumables cradles diners from the cold in a neighborhood just as cozy. The restaurant, which touts a menu of items made fresh and from scratch daily, opened in the former Café de Paris in Little Italy back in September. Owners John and Allison Querry have a lot to live up to after the Café de Paris closed some years ago; it was the city’s only restaurant to receive a prestigious Michelin star. The couple holds their own on the quiet street, serving inventive entrees with warm service. Their goal to make everything from scratch is impressive and starts with even the ketchup, a clove-heavy concoction of tomato sauce and vinegar that is pleasantly not Heinz. “We watch the specials at the grocery store and markets,” says John Querry. “That’s how we decide what to make at any given time. I’ve been to four grocery stores in three days.” Today’s menu (very similar to the one I selected from last week) includes coffee- and cocoa-rubbed pork tenderloin, a flank steak with South American chimichurri sauce, root vegetable chips and a beet and arugula salad with simple hors d’oeuvres going for $3 or $4 and entrees selling for up to $16 for seared mahi mahi. “We really like to play with seafood on the weekends. It’s always fresh and never frozen,” says Querry. On a Thursday evening, my dining companion, a vegetarian, was delighted with the salty root vegetables chips, crispy and fun (to think, something other than potato chips!) with house ketchup and a buttermilk peppercorn sauce (akin to ranch I would say). However, he had few vegetarian options for an entrée. He settled on and was happy with the fresh beet and arugula served with bleu cheese and vinaigrette. I had a cornucopia of tempting options and went straight for the mussels with feta cheese and bacon. It was inevitable considering it’s a pairing of some of my favorite foods — bacon, cheese and mollusks served with fantastic twice-fried steak frites. The mussels were tasty and filling. We ordered a pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, and lulled by the candlelight and a Sigur Rós lullaby, I couldn’t resist a second glass. Lunch at Q brings sandwiches such as BLTs, pork tenderloin (John claims to be a big fan of pork) and a crab and spinach melt with prices in the $7-$10 range. Q Consumables serves as interesting a weekend breakfast as it does dinner and lunch. Prices range $4 for a breakfast sandwich, $5 for butterscotch steel-cut oatmeal, up to $10 for the Cajun omelets and $11 for the Morning Coma. Most items hover around $7-$8 for the a.m. crowd. At 9 a.m. Sunday, my friends and I made it just before an unexpected rush cleaned out the restaurant of its eggs. One server handled the entire dining room while someone ran to the grocery. The wait for sweet-cream slathered French toast and an order of the Morning Coma was long though not unpleasant. The three slices of Texas toast were topped with a just-sweet whipped cream cheese, fresh berries and apples. Soggy-crisp, they went down easy. Too bad I couldn’t finish all of them. The Morning Coma, true to its name, was enough to put someone to sleep. Diced sautéed potatoes were topped with eggs, biscuits and gravy littered with sausage. It was country breakfast done right, even though the plate was mistakenly delivered with scrambled eggs instead of eggs-over-easy. We left as three amiable diners thankful for a reason to venture into Little Italy only a little late for church. Q Consumables, 6th and Poppleton, is open Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.- 10 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sun. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Visit qc.qconsumables.com or call 916.5052 for information or the day’s menu posting.


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