Stable

I have to say, my curiosity about Swiss food was motivated by my recent reading of chef Marcus Samuelsson’s memoir, which recounts his experience training in an Alpine hotel and attempting to modernize traditional Swiss dishes. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen another Swiss restaurant, or met a Swiss immigrant, probably because who would ever want to leave a magical mountain paradise full of hot chocolate and sweaters and secret bank accounts?

We started with drinks and a cheese board. My standbad cocktail with watermelon vodka was refreshing but definitely not too sweet and even had a watermelon ice cube, and my mother-in-law’s apricot daiquiri was a good blend of bitter and tart. Our cheese board was intense. It reminded me of our experience in Belgium of ordering cheese in grams and, like the idiot Americans we are, having no idea the enormous quantity that would appear in front of us (“500 grams? That’s like…a small package, right?”). That is the only time I’ve eaten so much cheese that I would call it too much. Similarly, Stable’s board is one cheese but it’s a lot. Their house bread and butter are inexplicably amazing too.

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My father-in-law had the veal. This is some serious meat and potatoes. The veal comes sliced thin, beautifully brown but still tender, in a creamy mushroom sauce. It was the kind of thing I couldn’t stop picking at, even when it was just mushrooms and gravy left.

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My mother-in-law’s vol-au-vent (that’s a lot of hyphens) was crisp and buttery, with a side of peas that bore no resemblance to nasty, chalky frozen peas. The dumplings inside the pastry were rich and plush, with another creamy sauce.

 

My husband, after a lot of internal debate, ordered the spaghetti with pork picatta. Not his usual style, but it got a big thumbs-up from our server. He was not lying about that thumbs-up; the thin-cut fried pork was perfectly flavorful and this was not some shitty store-bought spaghetti.

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Due to my aforementioned infatuation with Marcus Samuelsson and his repeated mention of the traditional Swiss rosti, I ordered this. I had no idea what I was going to get, and in my imagination it was some sort of stew? Maybe? A casserole? I was close. What I ended up getting was the world’s greatest drunk food, Switzerland’s answer to cheese fries.

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It’s an enormous hashbrown topped with tomato, stinky melted cheese, and topped with speck. The potato was so crispy and perfectly seasoned, and the cheese was just enough to impart serious flavor without turning it into stinky sock city. This meal was not me, but it would definitely be perfect if you were somehow inexplicably already drunk at 6 p.m. I gave up after barely eating half, and the other half also worked well as my husband’s hangover breakfast.

We ordered a dessert of Schnapps, lattes, a chocolate mousse, and a creme brulee. Maybe if you like Schnapps you would be impressed by Stable’s collection. I can say we gave it an honest try. The coffee was good, but oh my god the chocolate mousse was unbelievable:

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This picture does no justice to it. Rich, deep, bitter dark chocolate flavor, candied almonds, perfect whipped texture…this was incredible and I ate much more than my share of it. The creme brulee was deliciously creamy, for sure, but nothing could overshadow this mousse.

My biggest regret in coming here was that I didn’t make the special reservations necessary for Stable’s raclette service. That will have to be saved for a birthday or perhaps and time when I need a very large pick-me-up and the only thing that can help is a giant wheel of melted cheese.

Price: $40 per person.

Bottom line: Stable delivers an awesome experience with everything they serve. You can’t go wrong with anything, but these meals are not for the faint of heart, or the carb-avoiders.

Ghibellina

It’s taken me an embarrassing amount of time to actually get here, due in no small part to the inflated price tag and the main offerings of pasta and pizza, which I am generally not particularly enamored of. But! It was my mother-in-law’s birthday, and cheese and pizza (and cheese pizza) are kind of her things, so here we go!

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We ordered drinks–some standard IPA’s and the bicicletta rossa cocktail for me (dry and herbal)–and their cheese board. Since the untimely demise of Sona creamery (RIP, never forget), I don’t know where one could find a better cheese board than this. They clearly chose these carefully as they were all very different, but all well-complemented by the fig jam and all tasty in their own right. I was particularly fond of the truffle cheese and the soft goat, which was extremely mild and melty.

For my main meal, I ordered the kale salad. It had a nice tang of citrus and the polenta croutons were unique and delicious, although I think Ghibellina of all places could step it up with the cheese on this. It tasted like Kraft parmesan from a can and it coated everything. Why?

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My husband ordered the squid ink spaghetti with soft shell crab. This was my one wish for him. I grew up in California where soft shell crab (and tiny East Coast crabs in general) are unheard of, and now eating an entire crab with the shell on feels both exotic and totally barbaric, and I secretly love it. The spaghetti itself had a nice chew to it and the crab was very flavorful and crispy. The whole dish was made 150% better with the addition of house-dried red pepper. Definitely demand that they bring you this.

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Ghibellina was offering a daily fish special of pan-seared branzino with quinoa and cherry tomatoes, and this was my father-in-law’s pick. The whole thing was delicious but definitely had the air of being too healthy for this place (and I ordered a damn salad!)

I was shocked to see that my mother-in-law ordered…drumroll please…a cheese pizza! Their crust is really soft and chewy, but also airy in a nice way. The cheese is definitely quality. Since she ordered it without the spicy pickled peppers on top, they brought them out on the side, and these made a boring cheese pizza vastly more interesting, although it still never would have been my pick with so many others (and optional toppings) on the menu. On the other hand, the giant scissors that Ghibellina gives you to cut your own slices and/or potentially murder someone are pretty great.

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All in all, we got a good meal and I’m glad we made the trip. The place is gorgeous, the service was impeccable, and the pasta and cheese were stand-outs.

Price: $50 per person.

Bottom line: Ghibellina is fun and has a wide variety of pizzas to please your favorite pizza eater.

The Partisan

This was my husband’s Birthday Dinner 2: Family Edition and I chose the Partisan because we remembered it being great when we last came here a couple of years ago, plus he didn’t want to make a big deal out of his b-day (#introvertproblems). I was worried that The Partisan wouldn’t live up to my previously-founded high expectations.

First, I had forgotten about the beer list. It’s pretty incredible and included a lot of sours, so already they were on their way to high marks from me. We all had a drink at the bar while they got our table ready and everyone was in a good place.

Next, while the small-plates menu is not huge, I had somehow completely forgotten about the charcuterie list, which is kind of embarrassing considering that it’s Partisan/Red Apron’s claim to fame. I was trying not to over-overdo it, so I chose three interesting-sounding meats and let my mother-in-law pick the cheeses. Here’s what we got:

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Left to right: Partisan’s special McGriddle-esque biscuits, smoked bleu cheese, Kunik goat cheese, bourbon-fig rillette, pig face biraldo, and the red menace ‘nduja. As soon as I ordered these, the sour beer set in and I immediately forgot what I had written down on their handy-dandy ordering sheet. So I’m not sure I tasted bourbon or figs in the pate-like rillette, but I also wasn’t looking for them because they’d completely slipped my mind. The biraldo was earthy, spicy, and salami-like, and the red menace was spicy, as advertised. I went with these weird-ass meats because I figured When in Rome. I kind of wish that these charcuterie plates came with some more interesting accompaniments, but in retrospect I think The Partisan does this intentionally because the meat and cheese need to stand alone. I respect that.

The main small plates came out rather fast after ordering them, but we hardly felt rushed. Here was the first round, from left to right: gose-braised rabbit, brussels sprouts, and shishito peppers.

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I feel like this rabbit could have done better in the looks department, and also in the taste department. It had the texture of tuna casserole and the flavor of mustard, if mustard took a bunch of steroids and went to the gym everyday. Fortunately, it was only uphill from here. The sprouts were the perfect crispy crunch and went well with the pesto and grana padano. I mostly binged on the shishito peppers all night because they felt healthy and there was a mountain of them. They were cooked to a blistered softness.

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Then came the fried chicken and the diver scallops. First, let me just say that I hate scallops. They usually taste like string cheese that has been living under the ocean. But these were great. Mostly they just tasted like butter. I loved the bitter chard with them as well. The friend chicken was so crispy on the outside, and the sweet and sour sauce on the side was wonderful too.

Now, here’s where our night got interesting. A server showed up to re-set the table for us as if we were anticipating another dish we hadn’t ordered. My husband immediately pointed the finger at his mother, who has a history of very conspicuously orchestrating surprises. When she swore it wasn’t her, it was decided that I must have said something, and while I swore up and down that I hadn’t mentioned anything to the hosts, I was stricken by fear that I’d put a note in the reservation that we were celebrating a birthday. I was also now working on my next cocktail, so I tried hard not to let on that I thought something might be amiss.

Dessert arrived, and it turned out to be my salvation. At some point during dinner, one of the servers had overheard us talking about cask beer. At the time, he had very casually mentioned that Bluejacket and Churchkey are part of the same restaurant group as them. So we had a brief conversation about beer. Drunk me went on a brief rant about how Churchkey is overcrowded and overpriced. That same waiter came back to give us the run-down: their fried apple pies with a cask Belgian quad, a full pour for all of us, all on the house and 100% independent of any birthday we happened to be celebrating (which the waiter didn’t know about until we all started scapegoating each other).

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So hat’s off to you, Partisan! I don’t know that I’ve seen another restaurant go to this extreme level of service completely unprompted. It felt like everyone’s birthday (and, fortunately, no singing or clapping).

PS the apple pies were flaky and buttery like clouds from heaven.

Price: $50 per person.

Bottom line: After a long hiatus, I think we found a new go-to birthday place. This was one of the best dinners out in recent memory. Pricey, but worth it.

Tail Up Goat

Spring Break staycation is a great time to try some restaurants on a Tuesday night that I’d never have been able to get reservations at on a weekend. Tail Up Goat is one of these. I knew it couldn’t be as good as everyone claimed, but this might be my only chance to try it. Earlier in the day, I was telling my cycling instructor and cycling class friends that nothing bothers me more than overpriced food. I’ll pay big money for good food. I’ll pay little money for small food. But I hate leaving a restaurant hungry and poor. I was worried that it was going to be one of those times.

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Although their beer selection isn’t stunning, they immediately impressed me just because they carried a Belgian kriek. You don’t even need to wonder if I ordered it or not, because duh. Husband ordered a Belgian dark strong (not from Belgium, but still pretty good).

Normally, I’d do all the picking at a share-plates restaurant, but since it was my husband’s birthday dinner, I was feeling generous. To my surprise, the thing he wanted most was the $14 Spanakopita focaccia. I mean, we just paid $4 for bread last Friday and spent the rest of the night making fun of Chloe for it. But okay…. The other two dishes we settled on together because we’ve morphed into one person at this point. We asked for the casarecce pasta with sherry-braised pork, as well as the lamb ribs. “We’ll just turn it into a three-course meal,” said our server. They must do this a lot.

Now, there’s $4 bread from Chloe, and then there’s $14 bread from Tail Up Goat. It’s not worth reposting the picture of Chloe’s bread. Let’s just say it was five tiny melba toast-sized pieces of regular grilled bread with a mouse-sized bowl of olive oil. C’mon Chloe, I know you didn’t expel the olive oil from the olives yourselves while we waited, why that bread gotta be four whole dollars? Now, this is what $14 gets you at Tail Up Goat:

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Things to notice immediately:

  1. I don’t even see any bread on there. I promise it was there.
  2. This is enormous!
  3. There is no shortage of toppings. More on those in a second

When people talk about “manna from Heaven,” I’m pretty sure that this is the bread they’re thinking of. The green stuff was kale, but you’d never know it for how delicate and wilted it was. There was feta, but this wasn’t no store-bought feta. It was creamy and melty, with only a slight hint of salt. The whole thing was dusted with those pine nut crumbs, which were so deliciously crunchy I would have been happy if they’d just brought me a bowl of that. And finally, it was finished off with a sweetness…honey? Maple? We’ll never know. But it worked. Oh yeah, and there was focaccia bread under all that. It was soft and a little oily like it’s supposed to be. On the downside, we feared that the rest of the meal couldn’t possibly live up to this.

We had a good amount of downtime to talk and imbibe before the pasta arrived. I was happy to see a sane amount of pasta with just as beautiful of a presentation as the bread:

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Once again, this dish wasn’t just your grandma’s bowl of spaghetti with pork. There was a nice crunch of breadcrumbs on top, plus a tang from orange zest. The pasta was a nice al dente and the pork was soft and savory. I’m afraid that it didn’t outdo the bread but it was still worthy of being ordered.

I don’t know what I was expecting from the lamb ribs. At this point I thought it could go either way. A picture is once again worth a thousand words here:

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I have nothing on this plate for scale, but my immediate thought when this arrived was “I’m not going to be walking away hungry.”

It would be wrong to say that the meat fell off the bones. These ribs were so cooked that the bones fell off the bones. They were crispy on the outside, with melty fat and a molasses-y sweet glaze. There were small pieces of dried fruits and nuts scattered underneath, bathing in glaze and meat juice. I hate potatoes, but the potatoes on this plate were spicy and crispy. Barely visible in the picture are the onion zoodles marinating in yogurt and za’atar, which were also beyond delicious.

Not wanting the party to stop, we got the bitter chocolate pudding. It looks like this:

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That thing on top is not ice cream, it’s a sad meringue. Quick rant: I’m pretty sure meringue exists for the sole purpose of challenging bakers to make it. Does anybody actually like it or go out of their way to eat it? It looks pretty, I guess. But it tastes like crap always and adds nothing of value to my dessert. End rant. Aside from the meringue, this was a solid but not fantastic dessert. I like dark chocolate and pistachios. Who doesn’t? But…it’s pudding. I think Tail Up Goat could have done better than this. Even they know they could, that’s why they added a meringue to make it artificially beautiful.

Price: $100 per person, including lots of alcohol.

Bottom line: Despite a fairly disappointing dessert, I was overall extremely impressed, happy, and full after finally eating here. The service was wonderful, the cooking was excellent, and the prices were high but fair. Tail Up Goat has restored my faith in expensive restaurants.

Primrose

Primrose inhabits a dumpy-looking space on 12th Street NE in Brookland that used to house an equally dumpy-looking Peruvian chicken joint. I never ate there, but I still felt a pang of nostalgia when I saw that they had closed, and then a similar pang of excitement with a tinge of white guilt when I saw that they had reopened as a chic wine bar. Naturally, I made reservations right away.

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You wouldn’t even know this was open if you didn’t gaze longingly through the tinted windows. The only sign of new life here is this sweet-ass mosaic outside their door. On the other hand, there are plenty of signs of life on the inside, where not only is it hopping with people, it’s also decorated with the feathers of about a hundred birds. Behold the carnage:

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This place is adorable! The bar is decorated with the classic shade of turquoise and in what may very well be an extremely offensive stereotype, all the waiters wear striped shirts. Let’s just give them all jaunty berets, hand-rolled cigarettes, and off-putting nihilism while we’re at it.

My husband was a little overwhelmed by their list, and started off trying to order the merlot but was rebuffed by our server: “Actually, I really hate this merlot. Can I bring you a different wine?” In a world where we actually know anything about wine, this might have been seen as condescending, but we live in the real world, and here in the real world, we are veritable wine ignoramuses, so his suggestion was well-received. My husband enjoyed the Viti Vini Bebi that arrived, saying it was “bold and intense.” (And yes, apparently the plural of ignoramus is ignoramuses. I looked it up).

I very much appreciate the slower pace of service at Primrose. It’s not slow because they’re forgetting you; it’s slow because they want you to relax and enjoy the thing you have in front of you. It made the meal so much more enjoyable.

We weren’t going to get an appetizer, then we waffled toward the cauliflower, but then the couple next to us had a cheese plate put down in front of them and I knew I had to have it. Confusingly/Europeanly, the cheese plates are listed under the desserts on the menu. “Well, let’s just get it for dessert and be fancy,” I said. But then I recanted at the last minute because I knew I couldn’t wait that long for cheese. It arrived a few minutes later. I regret that I didn’t have a photo of it because I inhaled it, like, immediately. It looked basically like every other cheese board you’ve ever seen, so I’ll just let you imagine it. The three cheeses were a hard. crumbly, nutty cow’s milk cheese, a cow/sheep blue blend that was fairly mild, and a semi-soft cow’s Camembert that was not as gooey as it usually is but very creamy. They were accompanied by apple compote, delectable cardamom-spiced dried apricots, and house-pickled vegetables.

We had another nice digestion break before the entrees arrived. And when they arrive, did they ever arrive in style. I had the trout:

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Could this plate be any more beautiful? The beets were soft and sweet, the sorrel cream was mild and creamy, and even I, a notorious potato-hater, liked the blue potatoes. The trout itself was extremely plentiful and cooked to crispy/flaky perfection. I couldn’t be happier with this meal.

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My husband had the short rib wrapped in pastry. For short rib, the meat was a little dry, but still flavorful. The roasted parsnips were spicy and sweet, and it had those strips of crunchy sweet potato on top that made my husband do an Italian chef-style hand kiss.

I think the slower pace and great food we had already had definitely influenced our dessert decision. Under normal circumstances, we’d probably forego dessert, but my husband was talked into getting a flight of aperitifs (admittedly, it didn’t take very much convincing), and we heard tell of the madeleine cookies with custard dipping sauces. We were supposed to choose only one sauce, but when we couldn’t settle on it, our wonderful waiter brought us two: the espresso and the pistachio.

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The madeleines were so cute! They were soft and buttery, although not warm, and were good vehicles for these delicious custards (which were good on their own, and the two flavors made a solid custard suicide). The liqueurs were all wonderful: from left to write is cognac, calvados, and armagnac (I preferred the calvados, but they were all wonderfully unique). I don’t remember the last time I was so happy and satisfied at the end of a meal.

Price: $60+ per person, worth every penny.

Bottom line: Primrose isn’t just an asset to Brookland, it’s a great new addition to DC’s restaurant scene. I hope its off-the-beaten-path location doesn’t deter people from checking it out. I can’t wait for summer nights on their patio. Bonus: after-after dinner drinks at Right Proper around the corner!

The Sovereign

The hubs and I were hoping to avoid a big Valentine’s Day to-do by circumventing the actual holiday itself and going for something a little cheaper. Turns out that “little” would be the operative word here.

We just returned from a trip to Belgium about a week ago and you’d think we’d be sick of sour beers and mussels. You’d be wrong. Especially since, sadly, The Sovereign’s food is far superior to anything we ate when we were legitimately in Belgium. Then again, that wasn’t exactly the point of the trip.

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If you haven’t been there yet, please just ignore their craft cocktails, wines, and giant pitcher o’ absinthe. You’d be doing yourself a great disservice to not get anything from their carefully selected draft list or, if you’re so inclined, to get a bottle of authentic Belgian gueuze (at an enormous markup, I might add, but still so worth it). They even serve the gueuze the Belgian way–in a basket! See? They know their shit here. (Side note: I highly recommend Drie Fonteinen as a general rule).

We couldn’t agree on an appetizer. My vote is always for bitterballen, a Dutch specialty that is basically chipped beef that’s been fried. But the husband isn’t crazy about it. We argued about salads but eventually settled on the Saucisse Ardennes. I was thinking it would be more like regular sausage, but it was a dried salami-like product. It was well-seasoned and very tasty after we requested some mustard to go along with it.

For the entrees, I had the rabbit in kriek (had to), and my husband got the carbonnade flamande.

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Rabbit: yum! Crispy skin, tender meat, baby potatoes, and braised swiss chard, all set in a delicious, not-too-sweet kriek beer sauce (kriek is cherry-infused sour beer, for the uninitiated). The potatoes were soft, and the chard was cooked past bitterness.

The carbonnade flamande is a fall-apart chunk of short rib, wrapped in thin pastry, and accompanied by mashed potatoes. The meat was incredibly flavorful and herbal. This was the ultimate meal for meat-and-potatoes people.

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Finally, we ordered one of Sovereign’s several dressed liegeois waffles for dessert, because we unfortunately and inexplicably didn’t eat a single bite of waffle in real-life Belgium. I wish Sovereign had a wider variety of fun waffles since a few of them were fairly basic, but we ended up with one topped with cherry compote, pistachios, and chocolate chantilly cream.

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I mean, it’s a waffle. It was an appropriately-sized dessert, which was good because we  were two bombers of heavy beer in at this point. Liegeois waffles are made of a heavier yeast-based batter than Brussels waffles (the Belgian waffles we all know and love) and it has more of a cakey texture. The chantilly had a good hint of chocolate. It was a good combination of flavors, but a fancy place like this could do better in the creativity department.

Price: Varies widely with what and how much you choose to drink, but I will divulge that we spent around $100 per person. However, we also spent more money on alcohol than we did on food (aka winning. For explanation, see: El Rinconcito), so our experience wasn’t necessarily typical.

Bottom line: The Sovereign will never fail to make me happy with their fresh take on sometimes-weird Benelux cuisine (ahem bitterballen). They are a perennial favorite.

Bistro Bis

Restaurant Week seemed like the perfect time to check out Bistro Bis, which has been on my list for a while. It just never seemed like an appropriate time to check it out until I could get three courses for, like, the price of one normal appetizer here. So cross this one out and here I go!

I’ll forego talking about the drinks because they were kind of unremarkable. Normal beer list, pricey wines, some original cocktails at DC prices. Everything was fine (I did drink two cocktails, after all), but it’s not worth the effort to post a picture, although I have to say that the server brought my cocktail out in a mini shaker and poured it right into the martini glass in front of me, which always makes me feel like royalty.

First of all, I love that their Restaurant Week deal allowed us to get basically whatever we wanted from their normal menu, which enabled everyone to get something completely different. Here were our appetizer selections:

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Starting on the top left, my husband has been working from home all week due to a bad cold, so this guy was super excited to order the French onion soup. It was your regular French onion soup, except I could smell this delicious stinky cheese even sitting on the other side of the table from him. It was all I could smell, in fact. The cheese was melty and crispy; the broth was full of onions. I loved it. It was worth my getting his cold just to try it. In the top of the photo is the endive salad, which I almost ordered for myself. I love the bitterness and crunch of the endive with the sweet, candied walnuts and pears. On the right was the Salade Panache. The apricots lent a nice sweetness and I’m partial to manchego. It was a good salad, but ultimately just a salad. On the bottom of the photo was my pick: the salmon cru. The carrot puree was particularly good; the green apple puree took me a little while to get used to. The salmon was only lightly cured and therefore not overly salty, but it was cut nicely and very tender. The cabbage and carrots on top lent a nice texture as well. It was also a perfectly-sized appetizer, especially for one person.

After tasting our entrees, though, I now believe in sorcery. Everything was so good in its own way. Between the four of us, we had the walnut-crusted scallops, the beef Bourguignon, the lamb shank, and the duck confit, which I will admit was my order because ever since I converted from being a vegetarian to being a meat-eater four years ago, I’ve been notorious for ordering duck any time it’s available. It’s like chicken, but not a horrible disappointment to eat.

Anyway, let’s start with the beef. So tender, so fall-aparty, in a rich wine sauce. It was a fantastic beef stew, and it came with these mashed potatoes that were so delicious even I liked them, and potatoes just are not my thing. I’m pretty sure that they were at least 60% butter. Butter is unequivocally my thing.

The lamb shank was heavenly. The meat had that lamby flavor but it wasn’t overwhelming, and it went really well with the cinnamon-y chickpeas on the plate. Lamb is so hard to get right, and this was incredibly melty and not even a bit chewy. I have nothing bad to say about it. I even chomped down the caramelized crust pieces my husband left behind.

20180126_192850.jpgSpeaking of not-my-thing: scallops. The nasty marshmallows of the sea. But in this case, I could roll with them. The nut crust gave them a texture that was decidedly less marshmallowy, and they were cooked really well, not chewy at all. The accompanying sweet potato puree was delicious.

Finally, the duck: I always prefer my meat boneless because I like to have the shortest route possible between my plate and my mouth (bonus points if the meat is already cut into small pieces!) But this duck fell right off the bone, and was served with beans and a spicy tomato-based sauce that worked well to cut the fattiness of the meat. Duck wins again. No regrets here.20180126_192838.jpg

20180126_200334.jpgFortunately–or unfortunately for my waistline–Bistro Bis’ restaurant week deal included an individual dessert for all four of us, which was highly unnecessary. Like the ingenious, crafty people we all are, we once again coordinated our dessert choices to include the widest possible variety. Represented here were: Apple Croustade, Citron Tarte, Torte au Chocolat, and Paris-Brest pastry. I think the winner of this round would depend completely on who you asked. I really enjoyed the apple croustade, mainly because the pastry crust was so flaky and buttery, and I really liked the raisins in the filling. My husband thought the Paris-Brest’s pastry dough was overcooked, but it was filled with a delicious cream that I can’t complain about. The chocolate cake itself was slightly dry, but had a decadent mousse topping. And the Citron Tarte was good if you’re into that sort of thing: tart, crusty, meringue.

Price: $50 per person during Restaurant Week, probably a solid $70 per person at all other times.

Bottom line: I was not disappointed by anything at tonight’s dinner. That said, I think Restaurant Week is the perfect time to go here since the price was actually reasonable. For a regular Friday night, I might choose Le Grenier instead since it has a much more local (read: cheaper) vibe.