Bistros, Sunday Suppers, and James Beard

Last night several of us enjoyed a first-rate dinner at Bistro du Midi, which is in downtown Boston, facing the Public Garden, in the space that first housed the estimable Biba and then Excelsior.

The new decor is very French, meaning subdued in lighting and subtle in colors and soothing, very soothing, very chill.

The food, start to finish, was exemplary.

It began with little mouth amusements of fried artichoke with a garlic-lemon sauce and small pouches stuffed with ground lamb and a tomato paste.

Then some appetizers: a nice, fat piece of duck foie; a Nicoise salad with tuna confit; and some beets and goat cheese.

The dinners of beef Daube; wild bass; and, cod were delicious.  The bass, which came with three, thinly sliced pieces of fennel, was the best I’ve had in a restaurant in a long time: charred skin, moist flesh, thick texture.  No surprise there: The chef, Robert Sisca, was Executive Sous Chef at Le Bernadin for four years. That three-star Michelin restaurant is the best fish and seafood restaurant in the United States and arguably the Western world.

Service was tentative and lacking rhythm, but thoughtful and while not anticipatory, well on its way.

The wine list, unlike most Boston restaurants, where the good stuff starts at $40 had many fine choices between $28 and $35.

Funny, like Joe Pesci said in Goodfellas, how the James Beard Foundation didn’t think to nominate the chef, restaurateur (Ken Himmel of Per Se fame), or restaurant this year.

Well worth your time and money.

Inspired by the meal, tonight it’s a veal osso buco, a no-brainer, easy prep dish that will cost $9.80 for the meat: Savenor’s again.

France text with map on French flag illustration

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