Bistrot Bistro

Restaurant: Bistrot Bistro
Cuisine: French
Last visited: March 22, 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC (Kitsilano)
Address: 1961 W 4th Ave
Price Range: $20-30

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 3.5
Service: 4
Ambiance: 4.5
Overall: 4
Additional comments:

  • Causal French Bistro
  • Opened March 2007
  • Owners originally from France
  • Provencal French food w/West Coast influences
  • Casual fine dining
  • Moderately priced
  • Strong focus on wine
  • Attracts locals/ages 40+
  • Karma Tuesdays – 5% of days sales go to charity
  • Prix Fixe Sun-Thurs $26 3 course
  • 15% gratuity for 6+
  • OceanWise
  • Open Mon-Sun at 5pm
  • Open late Fri-Sat.

**Recommendations: Rabbit Two Mustards White Wine Cream, Pommes Alumettes & Mayo, Profiteroles

Welcome to my special long weekend Easter Post! Happy Easter! Bistrot Bistro is a casual French Bistro in Kitsilano. The food is quite traditional Provencal French but with West Coast influences, so the recipes are still unique to the restaurant. In celebration of Easter we decided to eat the Easter Bunny. I know it sounds so wrong! It makes me sad, but it’s funny… but still sad. I like bunnies… they’re so cute! But this one was truly delicious!

Overall I thought the food was good, but also not amazing and often on the bland side. I found every dish was missing something and for me it was easy to pinpoint exactly what it was or what I wanted. I’ve been to parts of Southern France so comparing what I had there I missed the use of more herbs like herbs du provence and lavender etc; however Southern French food is lighter and more olive oil than butter focused and Bistrot Bistro did showcase this quite well. I would go back again, but to try other things. I’m not so confident I tried their best dishes.

On the table:

Mixed Baguette Tapanade – 6/6 for baguette and 2/6 for tapenade

  • Whole – $5 Half – $2.50
  • The baguette was great, but the tapanade was not.
  • The baguette was made in house and served warm. It’s huge!

  • It had a crispy crunchy crust which had a slight garlic powder flavour.
  • The middle was all soft, fluffy and chewy. It was almost like Ciabatta bread with a softer middle.
  • The bread had more flavour than the tapanade which was very bland. It was made with a variety of olives and still lacked any saltiness. All I could taste was some herbs and the spiciness of freshly minced garlic.
  • There’s not enough tapanade for the size of the baguette either – but for $5 I’ll let it go.

Warm Caramelized Onion Tart – 3/6

  • Warm Caramelized Onion Maplewood Smoked Bacon Gruyere Tart $8
  • It looked beautiful, but it was almost like a soggy bread tart.
  • The onions were very caramelized but it seemed like they mixed in some white bread like a stuffing.
  • I couldn’t taste the bacon or really even the Gruyere. It wasn’t cheesy enough for sure and was more sweet than savoury.
  • It was good, but it wasn’t as good as the description.
  • The tart shell was great though – thin and crispy all around.
  • The salad was good too due to the high quality and nicely reduced balsamic vinaigrette.

Escargots Butter Garlic – 2.5/6

  • $6
  • I love escargot, but this one was very bland.
  • All I could taste was butter, parsley and garlic… but the butter is unsalted and there was just no flavour. So it just tasted like oil and freshly minced garlic.

1 lbs Mussels Marineres Shallots, Parsley, White Wine – 3/6

  • $12
  • There was a lot of broth so you need to order a side of bread or frites. However the broth was only okay.
  • The broth is clear and light. It had a very strong seafood taste and it was slightly bitter because the white wine wasn’t cooked off enough.

Lamb Shank – 3/6

  • Lamb shank spiced apricots tomato white wine $19
  • The lamb was tender, but I’ve also had it tenderer. It had a slight gamey taste, but it was tolerable even if you’re sensitive to game flavour.
  • There was a little bit of fat around it but it was tender and melt in your mouth.
  • It was served with a lamb pan au jus (gravy) and a nice sweet and juicy apricot which I really liked. I wish there was more apricot though – if it’s in the title of the dish it should be more than the garnish.

**Rabbit – 6/6

  • Rabbit two mustards white wine cream $19
  • Easily the best entree of the night. The Easter Bunny totally stole the show.
  • It was served in a big red dutch oven soaking in a white wine cream broth and I definitely saw value in this dish.
  • The rabbit was delicious. I’ve had it before and the best way to describe it is a cross of dark meat chicken and turkey. It’s more tender than both those meats though and it shreds beautifully. This one was perfectly cooked.
  • The sauce accompanied it so well! Best sauce/broth of the night. The flavour was so well balanced and although there was cream it was rather light. I think there was some dijon mustard in there as well but it wasn’t spicy.

Duck Confit Macaroni & Cheese – 3/6

  • $18
  • 5/6 for the duck, but 2.5/6 for the mac n’ cheese.
  • It sounded better than in taste for me. Mind you I’m extremely picky on my mac n’ cheese and if it’s on the menu I’m guaranteed to order it… so I’ve tried many!
  • This mac n’ cheese was creamy and buttery with a strong freshly cracked black pepper taste. The cheese was so mild though. It was very slightly cheesy with Emmental.
  • It mas missing a gratin crust and the mac and cheese itself had no duck flavour. I wanted them to use the duck fat to make the sauce. It lacked a saltiness. I ended up pouring the rabbit cream sauce over the mac and cheese and THAT made it delicious!
  • The duck part was good though. It had a very crispy skin and it was nice and tender. More tender than the lamb dish less tender than the rabbit dish.
  • I also wasn’t a fan of the plating – just having a duck on top was very awkward and there was no continuity between the two.
  • The mac and cheese might as well have been served as a side.

**Pommes Alumettes Mayo – 5/6

  • Side $5
  • I love these kind of fries. It reminded me of the pommes frites from Bin 941 Tapas Parlour. I liked those better though.
  • These are really thin frites and they’re perfectly salted.
  • They’re quite firm in texture but still moist on the inside. They were pretty crispy too.
  • The mayo is made in house and it’s a very thick and creamy with a tang. It looked like aioli but there was no garlic flavour.

Brussels Sprout Bacon – 3/6

  • Side $5
  • This wasn’t what I expected.
  • The brussel sprouts were cooked very soft. It lost its texture and to me they were overcooked, which is the worst thing to do to a brussel sprout. It was quite mushy.
  • There was a slight licorice flavour and it was from the Star Anise they added.
  •  It was tangy too and I think it was sauteed with balsamic vinegar.
  • The bacon wasn’t crispy, but they were nice pieces with a tender fat rind.
  • It wasn’t that salty and again the dish was lacking in the savoury department.

Squash Pearl Onion Raisin Braised – 3.5/6

  • Side $5
  • It was the best side of the 4 I tried – except for the frites which I think were better than this. I haven’t tried the mashed potatoes, but I bet they’re better than this.
  • It was a curried butternut squash and it was cooked perfectly and very tender.
  • The curry sauce was very light, mild and sweet and I could have used more spices or maybe just a bay leaf.
  • Overall the dish was sweet and one dimensional in flavour… still good, but could be better.

Ratatouille – 2/6

  • (Not the Disney one) $4
  • Apparently it’s a popular side dish of theirs, but I thought it was okay.
  • This is a traditional Provençal vegetable stew made of autumn vegetables.
  • This one had bell peppers, zucchini and tomatoes. They were very tender and good, but the dish didn’t do much for me overall.
  • It came across as a Mediterranean/Italian dish. It was a very light and simple dish and the predominant flavours were tomato and olive oil.
  • It was missing eggplant and freshly chopped basil.
  • Green onions are not the traditional garnish (no no for me) – but they are more affordable.

**Profiteroles 5/6

  • Choux Pastry with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce $7
  • Best dessert they offered here hands down.
  • This wasn’t a traditional French profiterole, but I did like it better because I love ice cream.
  • The choux pastry (pastry puff) was perfect! It was fluffy, light and airy, delicate and soft.
  • The ice cream is not made in house and it was a bit icy in texture… like literally shards of ice throughout it.
  • The chocolate sauce is served on the side in a separate bowl. It taste like melted chocolate chips but a thin texture. It was too sweet and I wanted it a bit more bitter.
  • Loved the plating though.

Lemon Tart – 4/6

  • $6
  • I liked this tart. It was very tart with fresh lemons and zest. It was a nice, smooth and creamy lemon filling.
  • The tart shell was home made and flavourful. It was like a cookie crust.
  • It was served with fresh whipped cream and a mixed berry compote with whole blueberries and blackberry puree. A great combination of flavours.

Chocolate Mousse – 4.5/6

  • $6
  • I’m not huge on chocolate mousse, but for a chocolate mousse this was pretty excellent.
  • It seemed so fresh, airy and fluffy and it was a bittersweet chocolate. It was too sweet for me even though it was a dark chocolate.
  • It was rich as chocolate mousse is, but I like the chocolate mousse at Les Faux Bourgeois better.
  • However I’m not a fan of just chocolate mousse for dessert and find it too much.

Creme Brulee – 2.5/6

  • $6
  • It tasted good, but the texture was off.
  • It was a bit thin and almost like vanilla pudding. It wasn’t too sweet but a bit eggy tasting.
  • There were real vanilla beans on the bottom of the dish along the sides but I couldn’t taste it at all.
  • The burnt sugar was very crunchy and a bit too thick for me. I like to tap it with my spoon and have it shatter, but this one took a few times to get through.

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