French Kiss

Dinner at Bistro 218 brings us back to life.

By Jan Walsh

I miss my life. Many things I took for granted are now missing from my days and nights. Looking forward to has been replaced by fear of what’s next. But not tonight… Tonight, we escape the madness with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Bistro 218.

Chef and owner, Tom Saab welcomes us, taking us back in timeto a better place, where our table is set with a red rose and candlelight. And our favorite French song, “La Vie En Rose” drifts through the air.

We start with two splendid Champagne cocktails: The French Kiss and The Ashley Rose. The French Kiss is served in a Champagne coupe and is a mix of Raspberry Chambord, prosecco, Champagne, and a house made maple foam and drizzled with ground nutmeg. The Ashley Rose is made of vodka, apple cider, prosecco, and Champagne, and topped with a maple foam and drizzled with cinnamon. Both are balanced beautifully with layers of alluring flavors and are the handcrafted creations of Bartender, Mike Dunn.

We pair our drinks with the, always a must, Maryland Crab Cakes and Bistro Burrata Salad. The two crab cakes are golden on the outside and bursting with delicate crab on the inside. They are enhanced by a white wine butter sauce. Always highly recommended! My large salad is a refreshing layer of clean eating. Butternut squash and a generous piece of pristine burrata are served atop a fresh bed of crisp, sweet Batavia lettuce, from CC Urban Farm, drizzled with a lovely sherry gastrique.

For the holiday season, Chef Saab is offering Beef Wellington. And Kev came tonight for this dish. I can’t choose between the Blackened Redfish or Yam and Butternut Squash Rosti. So, I ask Chef to surprise me. But when our server, John Cordes is ready for my wine order, I realize that I need to pair it with my entrée. So, he shares that I will be having the rosti. Thus, I select a glass of Domain Thomas Sancerre, a gorgeous French wine from their stellar wine list, managed by Sommelier, Carlos Cisneros.

Wow! Kev’s Beef Wellington is a showstopper. Golden pastry envelopes a tender, juicy filet mignon with mushroom duxelles in a spectacular sauce chasseur. Highly recommended! My comforting bed of golden yam and butternut squash rosti has the appearance of a potato pancake, covered with arugula, and accompanied by slices of fresh avocado, red onion, tomato, parmesan, and green goddess. And it is crowned with a farm egg. On first cut, the orange yolk runs through the lettuce to the rosti belowmaking a delightful and delicious breakfast for dinner dish.

We never skip dessert at Bistro 218. They are tried and true, always thoughtfully developed, perfectly presented, and seasonally sensational. Tonight, we share a Dark Chocolate Ginger Mousse and Whiskey Ice Cream, with pumpkin caramel and espresso sauce. Its deep, rich, deliciousness makes saying goodnight a little sweeter.

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