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elise h | Apr 1, 200212:35 AM

How delightful when your expectations are totally surpassed! I was invited to dinner at Mistral Restaurant and Bar, 370-6 Bridge Pkwy, in Redwood Shores. It's located in a small suburban mall near the Oracle towers. Nestled between a commercial office space and a dry cleaner, I expected modest quality coming out of this restaurant.

I ordered a duck breast with mascarpone polenta and pears in a cognac or brandy sauce. Best meal I've had in over a year! The presentation was beautiful and thoughtful, without being fussy. The duck was tender, succulent, lean and flavorful. Graced with mascarpone, the polenta was sophisticated and highly complementary. The pears were cut in an elegant array, and carmelized. The balance of savory duck, neutral polenta, and sweet pears was artful. The portions were just right for me - neither cuisine minceur, nor flowing off the plate.

Less than stellar was the service. Perfunctory and adequate, it lacked warmth and enthusiasm.

The duck, polenta, and pears cost around $16 - a real value given the quality. This dish would easily cost $24+ in San Francisco. What an outstanding find!


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