Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bistro Louise Valentines Day Dinner

Yesterday was Valentine's Day... filled with love, chocolate, and (for some) fantastic meals...

And after reading a post about Romantic Dinners at Eat This Fort Worth, I felt obligated to test out one of the restaurants on my fiance, as I was sure she wouldn't mind.

So I made reservations at 8:45 PM at Bistro Louise, a highly recommended French/Italian/Spanish Bistro...

I'll give you a quick review and then break down each course... Overall the food was fantastic. Definitely something that I had questioned I'd taste in Fort Worth. The mix of styles in the limited Valentine's day menu offered very very very bold flavors. The service was less than par as I believe they oversold their "by reservation" seats, not counting on people wanting to dine for longer hours.

Now onto the details...

The first course was a sweet-onion tart topped with red-wine onions and a shooter of warm zucchini and basil soup. The tart tasted as advertised, topped with confectioners sugar. The zucchini and basil shooter came in a tall shot glass, served warm. It was one of the best tasting, simple things we had the whole night.

The second course found us with Hawaiian Kona Kampachi Shashimi with Thai Guacamole and another dish composing of prosciutto wrapped plums with Asian greens, goat cheese, and a champagne vinaigrette. Both choices we definitely wished we had more of. The shashimi was incredibly thin sliced, not much meat, but the Thai guac (guac + wasabi was what I gathered) and red chile sauce definitely gave the whole dish a zing that was welcomed. There needed to be more Kona Kampachi as you could barely see it on your plate in the low lighting. On the other hand, the grilled plums wrapped in prosciutto was a very warm and welcoming taste. I'm a *huge* fan of goat cheese and the vinaigrette gave a nice bite to the salad. Both excellent dishes.

The third course was a tough decision, with the selections not lending to a clear winner. Becca shot for the saffron pappardelle with veal ragout, grilled quail and a breast of guinea hen. While I chose the lemon sole with tempura lobster, chanterelle sauce and lobster mashed potatoes. The pappardelle with ragout and game birds had a very heavy sage taste. Earthy, homey, and borderline spicey. Probably my favorite of the two main course dishes. The lemon sole had a buttery, lobster taste. Given the lobster mashed potatoes and tempura lobster bite, I figured the sauce would be a buttery delite, but not necessarily a lobster tasted all the way around. I'm not quite sure where the "lemon" came in with the sole, but it was still a rich and savory dish. The plating was a little rushed, as when you're serving sauces, you can easily observe the mistakes. Not a huge issue, but I like the sauces on the dish and not on the edges of the plate.

For the desert course, it was hard to pass up the Bistro Louise's strawberry craquelin, as strawberries are my favorite fruit, but there was something about the other choice that led me it's direction. Profiteroles with coffee and pistachio ice creams, port-cherry sauce and hot-fudge sauce. While waiting for this last section, we ordered coffee and waited... and waited... and waited until our cups were filled with a bitter tasting burnt coffee. The saving grace was the pistachio ice cream, though small in amount, it was a nice sweet treat.

And finally, the service. One word: oversold. We had reservations at 8:45PM and upon arrival, we waited another half hour before we were seated. So much for "reservations". The woman at the bar was a hostess, not a bartender as who know's where the *real* bartender was. She served us a "vintage" 2008 Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. The meals were oddly paced as the first two took some time to come out while the last dishes, including the desert were push into our faces just after removing our previous course plates. There were several people *after* us who were waiting for their table for well over a half hour. Not to mention I was told on the phone, by Louise herself, that I had a special table secluded in a corner... which apparently means a small, two person table near a post along the bus boy route... It felt as if they over sold their reservations for the night... and that with the crowded tables and fumbling service staff, it could have been more special.

So overall... the $261.20 price tag (including wine and tip) was slightly hefty, but well worth it. It's nice to be able to treat my fiance to a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner, where we get to dress up and fine dine.
Editor's note: My thanks to Jake for the post.
He can be found at: http://www.thoughtstoblog.com/


Jake Good said...

Yeah, after I posted it, I wanted to make an edit to ensure people recognized that it's me... and that you don't have a fiance ;)

Francis Shivone said...

Actually, I hadn't thought of that, but now that you mention it, not a bad idea. That was a great post (tell me you took off those goggles, though)... :) Bistro Louise is a favorite of many in Fort Worth and I had never been for dinner. Thanks.

Look for a review of the Italian place at University Park. Owed to me by Becca-Eastside.