I finally went to Bastide last night; it was thoroughly mediocre and I wouldn't recommend the place.
The reservation policy is annoying - your choices are 6 (or is it 6:30) pm and 9 pm. Both are not particularly great times to eat. Other restaurants have mastered the art of seating people at 7:30 or 8:00, perhaps Bastide can work on that.
The restaurant features a pleasant outdoor patio, but I found the interior decor pallid and uninspiring (and this from someone who likes good modern design). The host's podium features a migraine inducing neon light around its edges. The walls are basically bare white, with little to focus on except for the legally required green fire EXIT sign. With all of the servers running around, the space itself feels fairly cramped.
The servers are all male, and they seem to come in different flavors (as represented by the different outfits they wear). The standard costume, a beige dress shirt with beige pants, made me think they looked like insurance salesmen.
Overall, the feel of the place wasn't that pleasant.
Wine list was more reasonable than I expected - plenty of bottles in the $25 range. I was pleased with that, but I just ordered a glass of wine.
You're limited to prix fixe menus - they have three levels ranging in price from $60 to $90. I opted for the cheapest menu. Started out with an amuse bouche of tuna tartar. This was basically some chopped tuna, completely unseasoned. OK, I could have made this myself in five seconds. Next.
Appetizer was mushroom risotto with black truffles. The chef has no idea how to make risotto; this was basically rice, oversalted, with way too much butter and some mushrooms. It tasted fine but completely uninspried. Don't trust a french chef to make risotto, I guess. My date has fish soup, which I didn't try.
Main course was veal daubes (that's cheeks, I think). This was OK, though not my favorite cut of meat (it's just a bit too soft). It was bascally chunks of stew meat in a brown sauce.
An interim cheese course was pleasant.
Dessert was an almond financier with almond blanc mange and dried apricot sorbet. The financier was overcooked and dry, the blancmange was completely inedible, and the apricot sorbet was great - wonderful idea, using dried apricots. My date had a chocolate espresso tart which was OK.
They served a few little petit fours (the piece of chocolate was excellent), I paid my $160, and we left.
Overall eating here was like writing a final exam: waiting for each painstaking section to be done, yearning to pack it in and leave.
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