French Surprise

My friend, Ginger, and I wanted to meet for dinner and catch up on things. We live near each other, and so tried to find a restaurant near the both of us, for convenience's sake and to support the local economy. We settled on a new place that had replaced a homely, but affordable Italian restaurant on 38th. Turns out, it's a lovely little pearl of a restaurant, hidden in a gnarled oyster!

The restaurant is called Indulge French Bistro and the chef knows two things: how to cook and how to present food. Everything was beautiful (see photos on their site) and delicious! I had the Pan Roasted Striped Bass on a bed of Beluga Lentils in a pool of Tomato-Lemon Grass Broth. The fish was excellent and the lentil could have been a tiny bit softer, but that's the only criticism I can manage. Ginger had the Crispy Atlantic Salmon on Leeks Fondue "Aux Lardons" (that means "with bacon") with White Potatoes. She really enjoyed hers too. For dessert, we had a molten chocolate cake with a mango sorbet melting on top. Heavenly. The best thing about the cake was that we had to wait for it -- because they were making it to order. No reheated dessert here! It was well worth the wait.

This is in contrast with Le Central, another affordable French Bistro, where I have dined happily for dinner and periodically for lunch. In fact, I ate there on Monday. I used to love having lunch there. However, little things have been affecting my experience there. The bread is not as good as it used to be -- as it could be. They've changed my favorite dish. It used to be Salade de Bavette (steak on Caesar salad with a piece of a flash-fried Swiss), and now it's... hmm, that's funny, I went on their site to see what the new name is (different cut of beef) and the one on the site is not changed. That's either because they never corrected the original or (maybe?!) they changed it back. (Probably the former.) Anyway, the last time I had it, it was called something else and it wasn't as good. The beef was thinner and not as evenly cooked (tending towards well-done). In addition to these changes to my favorite, attempts to find something else on the menu have met with limited success. The Paillard de Poulet tends to dryness, and on Monday I tried the Menu de Chef. The Alaskan halibut bisque starter was tasty, but the Steak BĂ©arnaise was clearly reheated. I ate it, but I expect better from Le Central. The dessert offering was tasty as well, but was overly sweet and really could have used more fresh fruit and less creme Anglais. I'll probably go back and give them another try on the Salade de Bavette, but I'm thinking of ditching Le Central's lunch time offerings.
So, I've discovered one great new French Bistro nearby to replace one previously great (still great at dinner!) one near work.


Unknown said...

Well, I dunno. This blog is definitely taking on the characteristics of a food critic's. [salivating]

belsum said...

There's nothing more frustrating that a former favorite consistently disappointing on the little things. I'm glad you found a new gem!