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New: Pompette


Nicholas Boer

We’ve always loved Fourth Street in Berkeley; its boutiques and restaurants evoke a European lane. So, when a handsome French bistro opened, we visited straight away. The new space boasts a sleek, split-level dining room with a curved, zinc-topped bar and dining counter. But the prime seats are on the front patio, where you can watch the shopping mecca’s peopled—but hardly pedestrian—Berkeley scene. Pompette’s cuisine, crafted by owner and Chez Panisse alum David Visick, is unapologetically French, with picture-perfect presentations, bright flavors, and classical influences. On our visit, the asparagus “mimosa” brought snappy spears draped with buttery, garlicky breadcrumbs and fluffy grated egg. A béchamel-baked croque monsieur was cheesy rich, while sweet mussels came on fennel-topped toast. The only off note was delicate swordfish finished with an overpowering olive relish. But Pompette boasts a fine selection of French wines, lending well to its name, which translates to “tipsy” in French. 782 Fourth St., Berkeley, (510) 356-4737, . Dinner Mon.–Sat., lunch daily.

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