Monday, August 15, 2011
High hopes for The Bistro at Maison de Ville
But this past Friday, I almost thought they were going to turn us away when we stepped inside The Bistro at Maison de Ville.
A feeling of fear and self-loathing began to permeate my usual confident facade when the maitre'd asked us, his nose in the air, if we had made a reservation while he proceeded to evaluate us head to toe. We barely passed muster, though, and were seated at a table right in front of the door. You'd think if we didn't look appropriate enough to dine there that they would have wanted to hide us in the back, but what do I know about hosting strategy?
We started out with two appetizers to share and the first to arrive was their Flash Fried Calamari tossed in a spicy orange and Maytag blue cheese glaze. Unfortunately, the calamari was room temperature and a bit soggy. The glaze, though it sounding delicious in theory, didn't really mesh well on my tongue and the whole dish was bittersweet...pun intended.
Our second appetizer was really quite delicious, Fried Frog Legs in a bacon-leek cream with crispy gnocchi. How can anyone go wrong with bacon and cream in the same dish? My only wish was that there was more of it! Only three frog legs for $13? Oh well...
Our entrees came out of the kitchen all at once as we sat pondering whether the matire'd had a change of clothes ready behind the bar. Anne's Duck Breast "P.B.J." sandwich was probably the most interesting dish, wheat toast piled high with juicy duck, spicy peanut butter and melted Fontina, but they smeared a pepper jelly on top that made for sticky handling. John's dish of Smoked Salmon was sadly a complete disappointment for him (and for us tasters). Though we imagined the smoked salmon to be raw, like lox, it came out overcooked and dry. The "Creamy Tobikka Remoulade" and yolk from the poached eggs helped a bit, but the flavor was decidedly lacking. Not to mention, the dish was completely devoid of the crispy bacon mentioned in the menu description.
As it turns out, I was most pleased by my dish, the Pork Scaloppini. Three delicately thin slices of pork were swimming in a delicious sauce of white wine, lemon, butter and capers and served with gnocchi and still slightly crisp (just like I like em!) sugar snap peas. I even asked for extra bread so we could all soak up the lemony, buttery goodness that was left on my plate. Maybe I am becoming a bit of a food snob, but I was still a bit irked by the gnocchi, which was too chewy and obviously not house made.
Maybe it'll be better next time if I dress up in my best outfit and slap on a little lipstick?
Written by Kim Ranjbar