Saturday, October 17, 2015

Restaurant Review: Bistro 82

I Lament that sometimes I Can't Take Pictures

Technically I could. . . 

. . . but I didn't. Bistro 82 is really dimly lit and since it was late evening the flash would have disrupted everyone. While the place was fairly crowded, everyone seemed to speak in hushed tones and I was pretty sure our nearest neighbors would not appreciate my photo taking.

So I don't have photos, I'm sorry to say. I also wanted to lament further as the food presentation was above par and everything was plated beautifully and it deserves to be celebrated. I've visited their Facebook page to get you some of their photos to at least properly showcase all of these fine dishes when I can. Yes, the photos are very similar to the plating we received so they care that much.

This is the first time I was handed a tablet that served as a menu and it was interesting. You could click on any item and get a snapshot (again same beautiful photos) along with more details, suggested wine pairings and add on options.

I started with an 82 Mule for my cocktail. Yes, it even came in the traditional copper mug and it really did seem to taste better that way. It was top shelf gin and ginger ale with a hint of lime. I do like when I make these at home, sans the copper mug, with Hendrick's but this was quite refreshing. this is going to sound a little strange, but they had very good ice. It was shaped like little barrels, for lack of a better description, and they had a really good texture. I have a thing for ice. . . There was a nice selection of cocktails that they featured including a champagne one, but they were also pricey. There was an extensive wine list that included by the glass, along with some bottles in the thousands, as well as a nice variety of beer (draught and bottles). There is definitely room for any budget.

There was a nice assortment of appetizers which gave us pause so we had to choose three. The Olive Epi Bread is limited but they had it available. The bread features a nice kalamata olive flavor and comes with a butter with herbs de provence. I would have liked a little more butter as it was more of a decorative shmear on the platter. The bread itself was very yeasty and crusty and quite good served warm. However, if you were limited to only one or two appetizers I would definitely move along to the other two we had. The French Onion Soup Dumplings was a whole new take on the typical traditional soup offering and a nice change. It is served in a crock with individual impressions that each hold a single dumpling that features onions and cheese. I think of the dumpling as a French version of a Dim Sum or a kreplach. It was really doughy but bursting with a blend of flavors that could
be described as quintessential onion soup. The whole dish was covered in the traditional gruyere cheese that was browned beautifully and could even be considered a cheese fondue. Crostini came with it for dipping and you definitely want to dip. Crostinis were also featured with our bone marrow which is going to be the thing I recommend the most out of our array of appetizers. Wonderful in texture, the marrow was both salty and smoky, with a really nice texture. The lemon wedge provided balanced the flavors whith a quick squeeze to get some of the juice on the bones. I have not had bone marrow before but have always enjoyed bones and thought it would be a nice change. I was not disappointed. Many of the mains allow for the addition of bone marrow and I would definitely add that to an entree if I wanted different appetizers next time.

Now main dishes. . . I  chose the Seafood Cioppino for my main entree. I have enjoyed waterzooi and other brothy seafood dishes so this was a guaranteed like for me but I have to admit that there were several other offerings that intrigued me to come back again. The broth was a little different, as it had very nice undertones of chili, and was a little heartier than other dishes I have had previously. The seafood in here was very generous with three really nice pieces of King crab in the shell, and assorted clams mussels, and a nice large scallop. There was also cobia in this dish and those pieces were wonderful, enough for me to consider the Roasted Cobia option even if I'm not a super big fan of fish usually. It had a really nice texture and was very mild. More crostini was served. I was not sorry to see it.

We also ordered a Steak Frites and I don't know how I can convey how good those fries were but I am going to say that those were some of the best fries I have had, hands down. The steak itself was a flat iron, cut into generous slices, that were so soft that I didn't feel the chewiness of a a steak. The sauces - a bernaise - was so wonderful on those fries and the gray mixed with the maitre d'butter was divine. This was a wonderful dish and while I don't typically order steak I could see myself doing that here. I think the fries had a truffle sprinkling that was not mentioned on the menu but it worth mentioning here. Wonderful dish. . .

We had dessert and they were good but not as wonderful as dinner. We choice the PB&C as recommended my our waitstaff. This features a peanut butter mouse, with chocolate and caramel, as well as chopped strawberries, along with salted caramel ice cream. It was good but nothing that put me over the edge. It was plated beautifully and was a work of art but you can only do so much with a peanut butter mousse. I should have just ordered more bone marrow.

the Pumpkin Genoise was a little bit more interesting, featuring spiced Bavarian cream, malted chocolate mouse and pepita brittle. I am not a fan of malted milk so I'm glad I didn't notice that in the description because the chocolate in this, blended very well with the pumpkin was really delicious. The pumpkin was not overpowering and the sponge cake made for a very light offering. this was by far my favorite between the two desserts. Although, again, I would have love some more bone marrow with crostini.

This restaurant is a nice addition to the Royal Oak scene and I will definitely go back. While it's a little more pricey than some of our usual haunts the quality and presentation make this a good value for a special night out. I noticed that while many other restaurants don't offer children's dishes, they have a kids menu so I could even envision a family night out here. I'm kind of curious about the macaroni and cheese. . .

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