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Bistro Elan Palo Alto - very disappointing

ChewToy | Sep 16, 200503:13 PM

DeeGlaze and I walked in with relatively high expectations given the praise Bistro Elan has received on this board and other places. Unfortunately, at least on this night, Bistro Elan failed to impress.
Things got started with a nice amuse bouche of cured olives and slices of chorizo. Both elements were tasty, particularly the chorizo which had nice spicy notes.
For starters, I ordered the foie gras on toasted brioche with a fruit-based reduction. Very disappointing. Though the liver was cooked perfectly it was way over-seasoned with sea salt. I'd take a bite and begin to enjoy the creamy, gamy, savory character of the liver and then, suddenly, I'd be overwhelmed by big chunks of salt. Instead of accenting the foie, the salt was the dominant flavor in my mouth. The reduction was served below room temperature (almost cool) resulting in an unappealing mouth-feel and a complete waste of the $20 for an appetizer-sized portion.
DeeGlaze fared better with her starter, a frisee salad with hazelnuts and pickled peaches. This combo worked nicely.
For the main course, I chose the sauteed sturgeon over creme fraiche mashed potatoes. Again, disappointing. The fish was over-cooked. I thought it was impossible to dry out sturgeon but they succeeded. Only the very center of my portion retained its oily, luscious character. How the kitchen could suffer from this lack of attention to detail when only a third of the tables were filled is beyond me.
DeeGlaze had slightly better luck with her medium-rare beef tenderloin in a Provencal-style sauce. It was fine, but nothing exciting.
For desert we shared the cheese plate featuring a very intense Blue Shropshire. This was easily the highlight of the meal for me.
The service was chaotic too. We seemed to have two servers neither of whom was aware of what the other was doing. After ordering drinks a different server came over asking for our drink order. The same thing happened after we ordered our food.

For the food described above, one glass of wine, tax and tip, we forked over $128.00 and felt that we had not received anything close to that value in return.

We will not be back.


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