Thursday, January 1, 2015

Bistro Grace

Where everyone would want to be, 
if only it were kicked up a few notches

Bistro Grace
      This restaurant space hasn't looked this good since the early days of the old Boca at the turn of the last century.  Dramatic lighting along with benched seating and good acoustics all make for a night of relaxed dining.  There's only
one interior snafu…the hostess stand.  What was it doing in, literally, the middle of the doorway? There were 5 of us arriving and our entrance was quite the song and dance number working our way between the bar stools and a server attempting to get to the window table.  For a truly welcoming statement, two things must be addressed:  the post needs to be (wo)manned, and it needs to be moved.

      Bistro Grace had been on our dining out list since its heralded opening in 2013.  Everything we read about it seemed to have the makings of something great.  We started by sharing the Braised Duck Poutine and Deviled Eggs.  
Deviled Eggs
The eggs came topped with smoked salmon, a superb saltiness juxtaposed with the slightly sweet creamed yolk mixture.  The poutine was a take on one of our favorite pub dishes that quite simply confused us.  The "fries" were thin shavings of sweet potatoes that were too dry to absorb any of the flavors from the braised duck.  Instead, they just became soggy and limp.  The duck had good 
Braised Duck Poutine
flavor, but there was too little of the cheese curd.  It was an attempt to be different that left us scratching our heads. 

Grace Burger
      Let's start by announcing the winner among our entrées…the Grace Burger.  Jan and Mike both had everyone's choice of the evening.  It was prepared to their requested temperature and topped with fontina cheese, bourbon shallots (yes, you could taste the bourbon) and onion rings.  The accompanying fries were medium cut and light.  Lisa chose the Braised Lamb Shank and she wished she had not.  It had that "old" lamb taste to it that stays with you long after your meal has ended.  It was served with sweet and red skin mashed potatoes (which were nice) and incinerated green (mush) beans.  Eric had Rachel's Stuffed Calamari, a choice he made while reading the online menu.  I wish I had a photo of his face when it arrived!  We would rate this as one of our all-time unappealing entrée presentations.  So much so that we won't embarrass the chef, or Rachel, by showing it.  Imagine going to a bris, and we'll leave it at that.   My selection was the special of Goetta Bread Pudding topped with a fried egg.  In theory it sounded good and, indeed, it was!  The only problem was it was very rich and filling as an entire entrée and would work better as an appetizer or side item.
Goetta Bread Pudding
      Through the evening, we had struck up a conversation with the table next to ours so Eric asked them how their desserts were.  The mother announced that hers was fine as it was a Chocolate Martini and they are always good!  As for her husband…he had the Vegan Apple Pie (from Happy Chicks Bakery), which he rated a 2 out of 10.  Their daughter had the Berry Puff Pastry, which she found disappointing.  It's always good to ask, and our decisions on whether to have desserts were made.

      Service was friendly and attentive, and pricing is right on the mark as a moderate dining establishment.  It certainly has the potential to be a great gathering place if some serious changes are made before it loses its time in the spotlight.  At this point, its creative reach has far exceeded its grasp.  

      It also wouldn't hurt if Grace were to play the gracious host (as her name implies) when patrons are leaving, and ask them to return again.
Bistro Grace on Urbanspoon

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