HYANNIS — Now that the CapeFlyer is running from Boston to Hyannis, there’s no better time to sample the French fare at Pain D’Avignon. The cafe at the renowned bread bakery recently lured Massachusetts native Matthew Tropeano back to serve as executive chef. Tropeano has an impressive resume, including an eight-year tenure at New York’s La Grenouille, where he received a three-star rating from The New York Times. At the helm of Pain D’Avignon, Tropeano takes full advantage of the Cape’s bounty of produce and seafood to create his innovative menu.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s backed by a bread factory that produces 6,000 to 16,000 pounds of product a day — depending on the season. Over 200 varieties of bread are made on the premises and distributed across New England to restaurants, resorts, and individuals through the increasingly popular Bread of the Month Club.
Long before you enter the bistro and view the candlelit tables and crowded bar, you smell the bread. Grab a seat overlooking the bakery’s stone hearth ovens and a hot baguette will soon arrive with a healthy dollop of French butter. This will whet your appetite for one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, local oysters baked with leeks, smoked bacon, Pernod, and flakes of melted Parmesan.
A second appetizer, beef tartare, was devoured at our table in record time. The steak, a dry-aged sirloin, is marinated in Dijon mustard, an egg yolk, truffle oil, capers, and shallots.
For entrees, you can’t go wrong with the tender scallops spiced with applewood-smoked bacon and a carrot-ginger coulis. Or the Chatham cod and lobster risotto, flavored with chiodini mushrooms. Save room for a dessert of crème brûlée or one of the fresh fruit tarts baked daily.
Pain D’Avignon has been a local favorite since the restaurant started serving dinner in 2009. With the imaginative Tropeano at the wheel, it is sure to be that much harder to snag a reservation.
PAIN D’AVIGNON 15 Hinckley Road, Hyannis, 508-778-8588, www.paindavignon.com. Entrees $25-$32.