Spines of pear

So we had dinner at The Bistro last night. It was surprisingly mellow given all the people in town, although we did come in a little on the later side. But it was rather serene. The thing about the Bistro for me is not just that the food is awesome, which it is, but that the staff love their customers and the owners love their staff. I know I sound like a giant hippie when I say this, but the energy there is very good. I don’t sense bitterness and trying to get through another shift, even though all of us have days like that sometimes. I always receive such excellent service there that I honestly can’t quite figure out how they do it. You’d think I’ve eaten there enough times at this point that inevitably something would have happened. But no. The staff are always unfailingly kind, courteous, and loving. I feel like there are no stupid questions, like I’m lounging around someone’s back yard being brought out plates of delicious food, a member of the family. The only time I’ve ever had cause for complaint was when a waiter once accidentally left something off my bill and I pointed it out to her under the assumption that she might want to fix it. Which is not a complaint, so much, I suppose.

I’ve had terrible service at some point in every other restaurant in town, even those which are normally excellent. But never the Bistro, and I happen to think that’s a very respectable track record. (Granted, I hope I’m not a very needy/bitchy customer and therefore probably don’t inflame the staff as much I could, potentially. But still.)

The food was excellent to the highest degree, as always–I had the seafood chowder which was gratifyingly studded with chunks of potato and dead pig, and we followed with a special entree–yellow jack served with salmon wontons and black rice.

The wontons were deliciously white trash in a way I can’t quite describe, more like haute white trash, because they were prepared with excellent ingredients and they had creamy goodness inside and were fried. They were more or less precisely what I was craving and, given carte blanche, I probably would have eaten an entire plate of them if I had been left unguarded. I don’t know what the general stance of the world is on salmon wontons, but I say a-ok.

I sometimes wonder, while I’m eating, if the kitchen is into what’s going on, or if they’re just catering to the masses. Sometimes I long for something totally over the top to come out of the kitchen, but I know whenever Nicholas adds something to the menu that’s a little “strange,” it meets with a frosty reception. And that’s a bummer, because I think people should be able to express their creativity in commercial kitchens, making food that they feel passionate about. And the thing is that Nicholas could make a bowl of shit taste good. That man could make me eat pretty much anything, and I don’t understand why other people don’t take advantage of his amazing talents when he gets up to hijinks in the kitchen. It’s my fervent hope that someone in the kitchen came in and said “I’m craving salmon wontons guys, let’s do it.” Food is life.

I had a coffee sundae for dessert. Well, coffee gelato, specifically speaking. But the chocolate sauce and the whipped cream are so damn good that I would probably just eat a bowl of those–the gelato is like a nice addition to an already perfect combination. (And before any of you ask why I don’t like coffee but do like coffee desserts, I have two words: shut up.)

Now, what my dining partner had was a thing of glory. She ordered the cheesecake, which was served with wine poached pears. I know, sounds pretty excellent already. But when Chrystal brought it out, it had three tuiles stuck into it, and the tuiles were like spines, curving up and towering over the cheesecake. I longed for a camera at that instant, because it was a fantastic dessert construction. Imagine a crown, a giant gaudy crown with huge spikes set with studs of wine poached pear. Go forth and order it, I tell you. This is how dessert should be, damnit.

And the cookie: ideal. Soft. Chewy. I knew from the moment I saw it that this would be love, and I was right, glory be. Oh, how right I was. I actually said “oh,” just “oh,” when I sunk my teeth into it, and sat in silent contemplation for a moment before snapping the rest up like a hippo at feeding time.

Once again, I am driven to thank the staff at the Bistro: keep on being excellent, kiddos.