L'Ecosse, the French word for Scotland, is a fitting name for the laid-back cafe that's just materialized in a former deli at 48th and Chicago in south Minneapolis. That's because chef/co-owner David Macfarlane is a native Scot who's cooking the French techniques he's picked up over a career, including a military stint that landed him, among other places, in the White House kitchen.
Now he and his spouse Christina (she's the cheery presence in the pumpkin-colored dining room), with the help of their teenage sons Andy and David, are their own bosses. They're concentrating, for the moment, on breakfast and lunch.
Mornings start with berry-topped pancakes, sandwiches stuffed with fried eggs and house-made sausage or omelets filled with hard-cooked eggs and Hollandaise sauce. Midday features a half-dozen salads and a handful of sandwiches that range from a baguette layered with grilled vegetables and herb-blended goat cheese to maple-glazed chicken topped with cherries and a blue cheese mayonnaise.
The menu's centerpiece is a quartet of single-serving savory pies, small-ish disks of tender crust filled with ground beef, vegetables or chicken and mushrooms and served alone ($3.50 or $4, a major bargain) or with chips and gravy. Another specialty is a generous cut of moist Atlantic pollock that's battered, gently fried and paired with well-seasoned, hand-cut potatoes. Fish and chips lovers will love it, and, at $8, so will bargain hunters (much of the menu is $7 or less). Dinner will be served when the beer and wine license arrives, probably in June.