Thursday, December 10, 2009

WPost Critic Says Bistro Blanc "Worth The Drive"

If you want to go to Bistro Blanc soon, you had better make your reservations today.

On Sunday, food critic Tom Sietsema will publish a two-star review of the Glenelg restaurant in the Washington Post Magazine -- full of comments that you shouldn't miss certain dishes and under a headline saying "worth the drive." Thanks to Trip Klaus for alerting me to the oncoming review. Thanks to HowICook, I got to share the early read.

Congratulations to Raj, Marc and everyone at Bistro Blanc. Originally, I posted the entire review because it was on a public page of the WPost's Web site, but one I was concerned might be linked back to my source. This is just a taste because BillZ found the official page:

Bistro Blanc? The name of the wine shop and restaurant in rural, wealthy Glenelg comes as a bit of a surprise when I make the establishment's acquaintance. Everywhere I look, I see dark evidence to the contrary: red wines, burnt-orange walls, amber lighting and servers in black uniforms.

Menus appear, prompting more questions. Lamb burgers, crab empanadas and "rustic rabbit" sharing the same page? In a slip of a town (population: 1,721) in Howard County? The skeptic in me shakes his head, while my inner optimist starts ordering dinner in the modern American restaurant.

That rabbit turns out to be a wholly satisfying introduction. Braised with vanilla beans and cinnamon in chicken stock, the meat is slightly sweet. Off the heat, the rabbit is picked from the bone, sauteed with pancetta, enriched with brown butter and garnished with fried sage. Eating the dish, I'm hoping there's more like it. Wish fulfilled: Those empanadas, fashioned from flaky braided wraps and zesty seafood centers, are a welcome addition to the table, too. Served two per plate, the savory pastries are also prettily set off with a biting green salad, a bit of avocado puree and rings of citrus-chili oil. As for the lamb burger, it's a pleaser. Crumbled feta cheese gives the sandwich a Mediterranean lilt, while a toasted brioche bun lends rich support.

The lamb burger begs for a hearty red wine to go with it, and the restaurant obliges. . . . .

Click here to read the rest of Sietsema's review of Bistro Blanc.


Trip Klaus said...

While I'm a little disappointed in the two stars (Cuba de Ayer another two star winner while good is not as good as Bistro Blanc, on the other hand media darling Volt was only awarded 2 1/2), I think the review is very positive and accurate. Happy there was no mention one way or another of the service that has been so discussed. Good advertisement for HoCo. Hope Baltimore Magazine includes Bistro Blanc in their next top restaurant issue. Congratulations Marc.

omars said...

if you follow Sietsema normally, you know he gives out stars sparingly. I agree with that style (and he typically is right-on in his assessments); most reviewers give out "100%" rankings left and right, and it's hard to imagine everything "is the best". There should be an archive where he describes what makes up his ranking, but 2 stars in his world is very respectable.

Think more similar to Michelin rankings, not Washingtonian. ;-)