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Cafe Bizou in SM

J_in_CC | Nov 13, 200404:38 PM

I had dinner at Cafe Bizou last night with a big group of friends (~20 people). This is the second time that I have eaten at this restaurant. Here's a report on the meal.

First visit: We began the meal with a series of appetizers. The only one that I remember was the tuna sashimi. It was very good. For my main course, I had the lobster tail and ravioli special. It was excellent and I remember the meal as being pleasurable.

Second visit: I suggested Cafe Bizou because of my first experience and the fact that it could hold a party of 15-20 people. Cafe Bizou has a large back room enabling the party to have some privacy from the main dining area. We all met in the bar area where we had some drinks. The drink selection was surprisingly good from scotches to beer. I don't know the prices because my friend picked up the tab. We moved to the back room ordered a few bottles of wine and some of us purchased wine by the glass. The bottles were all red wines, but I had a glass of the Pinot Grigio. The Pinot Grigio was clean and enjoyable. I'm not big on dry white wines so I was happy. I ordered had a caesar salad, the daily special called fish panache, and an apple tart a la mode for dessert. My wife had the potato leek soup (soup du jour), lobster tails and shrimp, and a banana/chocolate dessert.

The caesar salad was just okay. I like a traditional Caesar with anchovies in the dressing and on the top. This Caesar had tomatoes (not-standard for Caesar) which I didn't mind, but there were no anchovies to be seen. Since the salad was fresh and crisp, I just give it an "okay". It did bother me that the waiter did not go around the table with a fresh, cracked pepper mill. One would think that a restaurant of this caliber would spring for a pepper mill. This was disappointing.

My wife said that she really enjoyed the potato leek and kept trying to get me to try it. When I finally got around to trying the soup, it was cold. So I'm not a good judge of the soup. My wife is picky about her soups so I'd wager that it was good.

For the entree, I was disappointed based on my first experience. The panache of fish had two types of fish (salmon and white fish) and a soft shell crab on top of spaghetti (I believe?). The salmon cooked well and the sauce brought out its flavor. The white fish was a total dud. It had a white cream sauce with pepper, but tasted bland. The soft shell crab was just okay. Now, the noodles w/cream sauce was just plain bad. The noodles were overcooked and starchy. The sauce was absent of taste. I can't report on my wife's entree because I don't even recall seeing her plate. She ate it all and enjoyed it. I was too busy talking sushi restaurants and discussing Chowhound with someone at the party. FYI, he recommended the the Hump, Typhoon, and Hirozen. Hirozen is a new recommendation. He said the quality of the fish is just as good as the Hump, but cheaper.

For dessert, the apple tart was plain. Thank god for the vanilla ice cream. I asked my wife about the bananas/chocolate dessert which the waiter really played up and she said, "it was just bananas and chocolate". Nothing interesting.

Overall, I had a good time because I was discussing sushi and Chowhound but the meal was average. It may have been what we ordered because I had a very good meal there a couple of years ago. I do not recommend the panache of fish nor the apple tart.

We ended up spending $50 per person which covered at least 4 bottles of wine, a few glasses of wine, a glass of port, a glass of vodka, soup or salad, entree, and dessert. I suspect if it had been my wife and me, then the bill would have been ~$35-40 each.


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