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To eat at Le Rouge Restaurant in downtown Grand Junction is to enjoy fine French cuisine in a relaxed, yet upscale environment. Diners are warmly welcomed as they’re guided past the busy wine and martini bar and into the adjoining dining room. The smiling hostess made me feel right at home.

The menu’s French inspired Bouillabaisse, a rich stew spiced to perfection, caught my eye, as did the Duck Breast and the New York Angus Steak, ranging in price from $25 to $40. I had barely looked at the menu before Le Rouge owner Patrice Petit stopped by to welcome me to his restaurant. Patrice grew up in Paris and mixes French and American culture and cuisine at his restaurant. After recommending the Vegetable Pasta, Petit continued through the dining room shaking hands and laughing with what appeared to be regular customers.

I ordered the mouthwatering recommendation, and before I could finish my first glass of water my meal had arrived. Stacked high with zucchini, cherry tomatoes, brussel sprouts, and other tasty vegetables on a mound of pasta, the dish was as beautiful as it was aromatic. Through a combination of heaping forkfuls and bites piled high on warm bread, I quickly cleaned my plate. I received my second recommendation of the night, this time from my server, which was the dessert menu’s Key Lime Tart. Everything was so delicious I regretted not ordering the delicious- looking calamari as an appetizer.

Although satiated, and the bill paid, I found myself wanting to linger and soak in the ambiance of this intimate eatery. On one side there is the bar, bustling with lively conversation, and across the glass divide the sparkling dining room framed with lighting along the ceiling and draped across the window looking out onto Main Street.

Despite a steady clientele that evening, the atmosphere was peaceful, and the service quick.

I felt right at home on a chilly March night. I’ll definitely return later in the season to experience the outdoor seating on a sunny afternoon. Visit Le Rouge Restaurant for a delicious meal in an upscale environment at an affordable price. And, consider stopping at the bar for a tasty cocktail, and some good conversation.

To fully experience this downtown restaurant, heed the advice of the sign outside the restaurant that says, “We don’t have Wifi, get off your phone and talk to somebody!”