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Restaurants & Bars 4

Petaluma’s Le Bistro

Melanie Wong | Dec 6, 200308:56 PM

Le Bistro is one of those proverbial small spots that locals tend to keep to themselves. I recently had a terrific meal here that reminded me why this is one of the best loved eateries in town. I’d dropped in late-ish by myself on a Friday evening after the dinner rush, and even though I overheard Chef/owner Corey Basso say he was wiped out, each of the dishes was executed flawlessly in every detail.

Bistro salad, $4 – The most tender of baby lettuce leaves, more like gossamer than greens, were tossed with a creamy vinaigrette and piled high. A colorful mince of red cabbage, carrots, and summer squash scattered atop painted a playful multi-hued mosaic of crisp textures and fresh flavors.

Dijon-crusted Halibut, $16.75 – The incredibly fresh locally caught halibut pan-fried with a crackly nut crust was casually draped over terrific garlic mashed potatoes and napped with a silky beurre blanc and capers. Each of the individual vegetables decorating the plate was perfectly cooked too. One of the best pieces of halibut I’ve had in many years.

Brandy cherry parfait, $5 – French macerated cherries were allocated to be exactly one per spoonful of ice cream. The brandy fumes and bitter undertone of the fruit were a counterpoint to the vanilla ice cream.

In keeping with the moderate price range of the menu, the wine list selections are all under $40. Mostly local Sonoma County wines, some other New World entries such Australian Shiraz, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Oregon Pinot Noir, as well as a couple French bottlings, are offered. The bubbly by the glass was a Cava (maybe Frexinet?), but the lowish acidity and rubbery, earthy flavors were out of step with my meal. This choice was the one disappointment of the evening.

Though the kitchen’s preparation of this meal was flawless, the effect is far from mechanical. Ingredients have been selected with care and there’s a lot of warmth and grace in the cooking. While not innovative or exotic, the flavors are rounded and somehow stay fresh with each bite. It was a true pleasure to enjoy French-accented food prepared with great confidence but without pretension at such reasonable prices.

Le Bistro
312 Petaluma Blvd. S.


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