Sunday, April 13, 2008

Light Bistro

My wonderful boyfriend, D, took me out to celebrate my big promotion on Friday night. He likes to keeping me guessing until the minute we pull up to the restaurant. (Side note: he gives me clues that are absolutely horrible but he's convinced he's the best clue-giver ever. For example, his clues for the selection on Friday were "You might have been there before AND they only take reservations for parties of 8 or more." I'm like "Uhhh...that narrows it down to about 1,000 places, D.")

So his surprise restaurant ended up being Johnny Mango's (um, yay, see his "clues" above - I love this guy), which I had already been to several times. I really don't get what people think is so super awesome about that place. Every time, I've been there, the food has been average, at best. However the drinks are typically super, so ya know - I guess one kinda makes up for the other.

So after D got over his tantrum / disappointment that I'd been to Johnny Mango's before, we decided to walk over and try Light Bistro. I've heard lots of great things about this place, so I was pumped to check it out. Extra special thanks to him, for going along with my wants, which I appreciate :-)

3 First Impressions of Light Bistro
De core: Cozy chic
Service: Knowledgeably fun
Food: Asian-influenced?

Thumbs: Two WAY up

The chef, Matt Mathlage, says his food is "Progressive American". Maybe it was my food choices, but I certainly noticed a slight Asian influence. Super-score for Matt for using local foods, a big deal to me. SUPPORT LOCAL, PEOPLE! I digress.... I like the menu concept of "tastes" or "shares". "Taste" allows you to choose 3, 4 or 5 small plates. "Share" is just their term for the typical entree portion. I chose the 3 Taste and D got the Beef Hanger "Share" -which was fantastic. Compared to the hanger steak I had at Lola's, this one won hands down. Plus, the puree of chickpeas, celery and root veggies complimented the meat perfectly. I would not mind eating this steak my self next visit.

On to the more important, which is what I had....

Appetizer: Melon / Mozzarella
First Impression: Summer-ly refreshing
Thumbs: Two up
Cantaloupe & Honeydew balls
Fresh mozzarella balls
Fresh basil
Would totally eat this every night for dinner this summer.

Main Course: Taste (3 small plates)
1.) Pickled shrimp / chili / lemongrass / chive
First Impression: Cold shrimp vinaigrette
Thumbs: Two up

Served in an old-school mason jar, which was opened and poured into a bowl at the table, along with an Asian soup spoon. 5 pieces of protein. Pickling brine was DELISH - with chopped white onion, chilies and whole garlic cloves. YUM.

2.) Eggs and Bacon / Poached Farm Egg / Arugula Risotto / Crispy Pork Belly Dijonaisse
First Impression: Green eggs & ham are amazing!
Thumbs: Two WAY up

Okay, the poached egg was not green. However it was nestled upon the arugula risotto, which was green, and delish. D couldn't get enough. I had been wanting to try Crisp Pork Belly since it seems to be a trendy new ingredient. Holy amazing-ness. It's basically a cross between bacon and ribs. This was my FAV dish of the evening.

3.) BBQ Moullard duck breast / udon noodles / miso dashi
First Impression: Asian persuasion not so much
Thumbs: One up / One down

I asked the server of her favorite dish and she suggested this one. I said I wasn't the biggest duck fan, since it always seems greasy, but the server assured me it wasn't. It wasn't. Thinly sliced duck breast, perfectly cooked. The udon noodles were yum, but the broth was kinda fishy, which turned me off after the 4th bite. It was the biggest portion of the night but my least fav by far.

Dessert: Donuts and Coffee
First Impression: Mmmmm....warm donuts
Thumbs: Two WAY up

The server brought out everything out on a long tray, with the hot donuts in a bag. She poured cinnamon sugar into the bag, shook and poured the contents into a bowl on the tray. Along side the donuts were two bowls: one dish with warm chocolate gauche, which was a tad too sweet, and the other dish with two scoops of espresso ice cream, which D promptly inhaled. I ate these treats slowly and savored every delishish morsel of fried delight. It was best with you ate a bite of donut with a dip of gauche and a small dab of espresso ice cream. I'm fantasizing of the donuts now....

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