I couldn't have been more excited when I heard that the owner of Red Wagon was opening a French bistro down at the old Dockers location on Powell Street. It falls right into the list of things I love: French food, the Red Wagon and cool restaurants opening just down the street from me! So Michael and I went on a date night down to Powell Street. Which, unlike times of old, was not creepy.
The decor is really warm and cozy with some funky features. They kept some of the Dockers features and added some well chosen accents. I really loved the lamps. The pictures that follow are a bit low light but I didn't want to be the jerk with the flash camera.
The restaurant features a regular menu, plus an assortment of daily specials. There is a wine menu and an interesting cocktail menu on offer as well. To start our French adventure we ordered an appetizer from the special menu, a beef and oxtail presse. Perfect. The sauces added a nice tangy touch- the white one was a horseradish sauce- and the pate was well seasoned and just plain looked awesome.
For his main, Mike went with a full out classic, Steak Frites! He chose a butter sauce. The frites were plentiful, crispy and well seasoned. The hangar steak was also well seasoned and cooked perfectly, in this case rare.
I went with another classic, but then everything on the menu is a bistro classic, Beef Bourguignon. It was made with gnocci instead of potato. It was wonderful. The beef was melt in your mouth tender and the veggies were not over cooked. I really love a pearl onion. I was a bit worried that it was not going to be enough, but it was very filling. I think that looking at Mike's giant pile of fries made it look deceptively small. Just the right amount! There was a few moments when I considered licking the plate. I am not classy, but good sense and Mike's dirty looks won out in the end.
And because this was date night, dessert! We went with the lemon tart. It was very sweet and tangy, just like it should be with a nice lemony sauce around it. I really, really love lemon tarts.
Of course I had to visit the ladies room and I am fairly sure that the owner, Brad Miller, chooses his restaurant locations by the weird placement of the bathroom. Just like at the Red Wagon, you have to walk through the kitchen and then around a corner to the little tiny room. It did give me a chance to tell the cooks how much I enjoyed the meal.
Even though we went on the first week of being open, we arrived at the restaurant around 5:30 knowing that it was going to get really busy. And that was a good choice because they filled up quickly. It is not a very large venue and the food is amazing so I have a good feeling this is going to be another place with a well deserved line up. And if you get the chance to choose your seat, pick the third booth from the door because it is right above the heater. French food and a heated seat...heavenly.
Nous allons vous voir bientôt au restaurant, mes amis.