We had dined at the bistro back in 2012 and were more than a little impressed with the food, service, and ambiance. It seemed like a dandy idea to go back to the bistro for our last meal of 2014.
We had made reservations a few days in advance and were advised that the New Year's menu would be "fixed price". In restaurant terminology a table d'hôte menu is a menu where multi-course meals with only a few choices are charged at a fixed total price. Such a menu may also be called prix fixe.
The prix fixe menu we found was essentially a scaled down version of the bistro's regular offerings leaving off the really good stuff, like frog legs or the sauteed calf liver.
I had tasted the duck liver pate during the 2012 visit so that was my appetizer choice on this visit. The pate was good, but might have benefited from sitting out of the refrigerator for a few minutes before service.
Warm dinner rolls had already been brought to the table, and while pleasantly crusty on the outside with warm, soft centers they were definitely not enhanced by the rock hard, tiny tubs of accompanying butter. I would have been accepting of butter pats or butter tubs at a Waffle House, but not a pricey French bistro.
My dining companion was intrigued by the appetizer, Lobstetr Bisque, since she had never had a lobstetr before. We had a chuckle or two over that spell-checker malfunction, but that lobster bisque with the salmon quenelles was silky smooth and delicious, although the Belle of the Boulevard said she didn't detect lobster, just the tasty salmon.
After the appetizers we were presented with the salad which served more or less as a palate cleanser.
We debated the beef Wellington, but both of us decided on the rack of lamb. Mine was a perfect medium rare, the Belle's requested medium was under done and had to be sent back. Her dish was returned after a short few minutes and was presented again at the requested temperature.
To accompany dinner we chose an excellent red from Provence, the Mas de Gourgonnier. With a dark garnet, and mixed fresh berry aromas, black raspberry and strawberry and just a hint of grilled meat, the wine paired well with our chops of lamb.
Our total for the evening came to a little over $200 and that included the 20% gratuity that we added. This visit to the Gulf Bistro was pricier than 2012 and less satisfying, but we enjoyed our masks and tooters.