First String 
Bistro V holds the line on excellence, from lunch through dinner. 
By Jan Walsh 

Bistro V partners are divided only when it comes to football. Executive Chef, Jeremy Downey played on the University of Alabama’s 1992 National Championship Football Team¾and wears his national championship ring in the kitchen with pride. Partner, Emily Tuttle-Shell, who runs just about everything but the kitchen, is an Auburn alumnus. But Bistro V is their gridiron where they team together in pursuit of excellence. 
Bistro V is one of our favorite restaurants. From the casually upscale vibe to the friendly staff, we always feel at home here. But what keeps us coming back is the food. Bistro V’s kitchen is much larger than most restaurant kitchens, so there is plenty of room to play. And only the best products get drafted by this team. The seafood is fresh from the Gulf. The fruits and veggies arrive from local farms. The steaks are hand cut and the pasta is handmade. 
Since 2020, not a lot of chef-driven restaurants have reopened for lunch. Yet Bistro V is still kicking it, Tuesdays through Saturdays for lunch. Kev and I have always lunched at Bistro V often, and pick up curbside, more often. Just yesterday, we picked up a Fried Grouper Po Boy and a Hamburger Steak at the curb. 
Tonight, we have reservations for dinner. And both partners are in the house. We order a bottle of Prince Alexandre Cremant De Loire Brut from the Loire Valley. It is served at proper temp and expresses a lovely mousse with notes of peach and pear. And we nibble on the warm, buttery honey bread, while looking over the menu. Yet as our server describes tonight’s specials we look no further. 
Bistro V’s specials for both lunch and dinner are always tempting. Among tonight’s specials are our selections of Gumbo, Farmer’s Market Salad, Grouper, and Prime Rib. Chef Jeremy, gumbo, and I go way back. We have been judging Gumbo Gala together for more than a decade. But being a native of Bayou La Batre, he has gumbo in his veins! Kev orders it to start, and I opt for the Farmer’s Market Salad. 
I get a few bites before it disappears. The gumbo’s chocolate color rue glistens in rich and complex flavors, which do not overpower the other ingredients. A garnish of delicate crab and scallions rise to the top of each spoonful along with shrimp, sausage, okra, and not too much rice. During football season the gumbo is available at the curb for tailgating. The market salad is one of my all-time favorite salads¾anywhere. Lettuces, fresh from the farm, are mixed with juicy heirloom tomatoes, corn, and a generous helping of golden, fried okra. The synthesis of the veggies flavors and textures says, “Summer is here!” 
For entrees Kev’s prime rib is an enormous cut, more like a whole ribeye. It is rich and tender, intensely meaty in flavor, well marbled without being too fatty, in its own jus, adding to the juiciness. It is served over a comforting and creamy risotto with fresh spring asparagus. My gorgeous grouper is also a large cut. It is golden on the outside and white, milky, and succulent on the inside, and boasts a sweet grouper flavor. It rests on a bed of colorful summer succotash of okra, tomatoes, field peas, and corn¾bursting with freshness in every bite. 
And just when we were ready to call, “game over,” Emily treats us to Strawberry Shortcake and Blackberry Cobbler, along with a night cap of our wine selection, by the glass. I had her shortcake last year and was “Wowed!” by it. One whiff of Bistro V’s strawberries conjures up an aroma memory of my grandmother’s strawberry patch. Red throughout, not just on the outside, unlike store bought. Yet I also love blackberries. So, we share both desserts. The strawberry cake is served warm, which just makes this dish. The fresh whipped cream melds onto the fresh, juicy strawberries, and melts into the cake¾warming the cream and comforting the palate. Highly recommended! And her cobbler is just as special. It is served with vanilla ice cream, which instantly begins to run down into the crisp, golden crust. The berries, cream, and crusty cobbler fuse into a tasty tapestry. 

Copyright ©2022 Reviews

Categories: Casually Upscale, Reviews
Location: Blogs Parent Separator Reviews