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Bistro 5 Visit (long)

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Bistro 5 Visit (long)

MB fka MB | Mar 13, 2006 11:09 AM

A friend and I stopped in there on Friday. They were doing RW and only offered the prix fixe menu. You could add shaved black truffled (from Umbria) to any app for $8 (IIRC) or entree for $10. Add in a wine pairing for $18. There were about 4-5 appetizer and entree selections, and two dessert selections. We ordered:

Appetizers:
grilled squid with a shaved fennel and blood orange salad
white polenta with gorgonzola, prosciutto and roasted pear

Entrees:
saffron risotto w/ grilled asparagus and sea scallops
roasted chicken with chestnut mashed potatoes

Desserts:
apple crepe with hazlenut ice cream
creme brulee

A small bread basket comes with (housemade?) sliced baguette - good flavor though more like a plain white bread in texture. Comes with a great white bean or chickpea puree, finished with a bright olive oil and perhaps has a hint of anchovie paste? Really tasty.

The white polenta app was the winner - great flavors together and the dish was finished with a nice (aged?) balsamic. Squid had great flavor but was tough to cut.

I ordered the risotto because I thought it would go best with the shaved truffle. Unfortunately, the truffle had ZERO flavor. Seriously. Highly disappointing, particularly since I wanted to share this flavor sensation with my dining companion, and then the server just questioned whether I knew what I was talking about--reminding me that this wasn't a white truffle but black. How do you explain to someone that you know better without coming across like a pompous ass? I wasn't trying to insult anyone, but c'mon. I hate these awkward situations. The risotto itself was fine enough, not something I would normally order out. Scallops were fantastic - perfectly seasoned and cooked - and the asparagus tasted great (wish there were more than 2 spears, tho'!)

Friend's chicken looked great, but I didn't try it, and the side of chestnut mashed potatoes seriously rocked. Addictive. My friend had to warn me to get off her plate. I'd go back if only to sit at the bar and eat those with a cold beer. Mmmmm.

Desserts were lovely, not normally something I rave about, but worth it here. Apple crepe was so tasty with butter and caramel sauce. Perfect with the hazlenut ice cream. Creme brulee was served just right - great crust, consistent flavor throughout, and lo and behold, room temperature (why do so many places not get this?) I forget the dessert wines they paired here, but both were excellent. BTW, healthy pours on the wine pairings, too.

The chef ended up coming out to our table after dinner. It looks like he might make the rounds anyway. He brought out a black truffle that had way more flavor than the one that hit my dish. (I only wished he tasted the one that I had sampled!) It smelled good, had moisture, but it still wasn't the truffle flavor I would expect, though he tells me that he orders them each week from Umbria (the chef is from Florence). I wonder, is this a wild vs. farmed issue? Anyway, it was thoughtful for him to come chat and they did not charge me for the add-on, which was nice.

All in all, I think this restaurant is a gem - especially for the area - and I will most certainly go back to try some more of the menu. IIRC they are doing the RW menu for another whole week, so if you're curious, I would definitely check it out in the next week or so. Service was attentive and friendly, albeit just a little bit rushed.

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