A note on reservations: When I went on Open Table, the restaurant seemed sold out, but after calling I discovered they only place a few tables on OT–the rest are through the phone lines. So always call to double check availability.
Eating in the Bistro: While the Tasting Room has gotten a lot of press now for its renovations, I wasn’t going to drop over $100 before sampling the menu first. The Bistro has a nice set up, and the tables were situated far enough apart that you didn’t seemed crowded (Like at Tabbard Inn). We were seated by a window, and the biggest downside of the evening was the air conditioner vent that was located directly under the far two chairs. For my mother and I, in dresses, it was a very strong, cold breeze that led us both to switch seats with our dates. However, as a testament to the service, when we notified the waiter about the cool situation, he brought over a table cloth to cover the vent.
The Menu: On Fridays, the Bistro has a three-course tasting menu for $65. The portion sizes and quality definitely made the price worth it. There was a nice selection of both traditional items (Chris ordered a Ribeye with spring veggies and a really tasty sauce with thyme, while my parents both ordered fantastic fish dishes) and more exotic fare (I ordered a farm rabbit with Brussels spouts, sweet potato cream, and foie gras-rabbit sauce as my entree and an antelope pate en croute (inside a crust) with pickled carrots and a dijon sauce that was really out of this world). The desserts were all stellar as well, and while I was intrigued by their extensive cheese selection, I ended up going with a hazelnut creme brulee.
A Small Fault: One slight fault I’d give the menu is that it’s not novice friendly. While descriptive, unless you are up on your French food terms, you might be surprised when the Pork Belly Rillette turns up looking like pate and the pate looks more like a meat pie. Not really a fault, but more of a warning. The servers are very good–and if you aren’t sure what you’re getting, definitely make use of their knowledge in case you end up with a surprise.
And to end, a second warning about asking what you order. My father ordered a cocktail he thought sounded Irish, and ended up being a VERY frilly girl-drink, complete with pink coloring and a cotton-candy topping that impressed the entire dining room:
|Dad’s hilarious drink order|
|Mom’s Salmon Mousse…like BUUUDDER|
|Rockfish with lobster and mushrooms|
|Carolina Black Bass with violet artichokes, olives, and fennel|
|Hazelnut Creme Brulee|
A Diet Note: for those interested in my month-long quest to eat healthy—I have found out that Rabbit is quite high in protein, so I ordered correctly (however fatty my dessert!)