*Restaurant is now closed*
Normally, when I go out for fine dining, there are certain expressions and adjectives I use to describe my meal. There are the usual comments such as it was delicious, elegant or Filet-O-Fish meal. Wait a minute, Filet-O-Fish as in the McDonald's sandwich? Correct. When I get a plate of food that has the portion size only fit for a 5-year old, it becomes a Filet-O-Fish meal. I am so hungry afterwords, I need to go grab a Filet-O-Fish at the McDonald's drive-thru! One time, I had a halibut dish at Fennie's and it was literally a piece of fish the size of a saltine cracker resting on a dollop of cauliflower puree. I think I needed 2 Filet-O-Fishes to satisfy my hunger. However, this trend may be reversing itself with the help of some reasonably-priced and portioned French bistros bursting onto the Vancouver restaurant scene. Les Faux Bourgeois and Salade de Fruits are perfect examples of these bistros. Today, we were in the UBC area and decided to go try another one of these French bistros - Mistral. Currently, Mistral has 4 set menus for lunch which range from $19 - $24. All of them include choice of appetizer, entree and dessert. You would be hard-pressed to spend that amount of money at Milestone's or Earl's for that amount of food.
Upon entering the restaurant, we were impressed with the quaint and cozy dining space. The warm colours and the tasteful decor really helped set the mood and atmosphere. The wait staff were extremely friendly and professional. We were never left with an empty glass and they were attentive to our requests. We really didn't have to look at the menu since we had our hearts set on the set menu. I choose the French Tradition which included a Salade Frisee aux Lardons, Steak Frites and Creme Caramel. Miss Y had the Provence Menu which included an Assortment of Provencal Appetizers, Braised Lamb Shoulder Stew and Chocolate Mousse.
Miss Y's appetizer was comprised of an Olive Tapenade, Creamed Cod Puree and Garlic Anchovy dip. This was served with croutons, celery and beets. The tapenade was quite flavourful and it went well with the complimentary bread. The cod puree was quite light tasting and textured. As expected, the anchovy dip was salty and went best with the croutons. The Salade Frisee was comprised of a poached egg, bacon and croutons on a bed of Frisee. I thought this salad was well executed. The frisee was fresh and crisp with just the right amount of vinaigrette. However, the egg was poached a bit too long, resulting in very little runny egg yolk for the salad.
The lamb stew had a very pronounced red wine flavour which was rich and deep flavoured. Despite this, it was not overwhelming and each individual ingredient stood out on it's own. Although the lamb was tender, I thought some pieces were a bit dry. My steak frites was excellent. The AAA rib eye steak was cooked a perfect medium rare. The tender meat was bathed in a beautiful creamy peppercorn sauce. Despite the abundance of peppercorns, the sauce was not overpowering; rather it complimented the flavour of the meat. I could tell that the steak was the star of the show and the sauce only provided enough flavour to enhance it.
The chocolate mousse was really rich, in both texture and taste. The dark chocolate flavour was apparent in each creamy spoonful. This was an extremely decadent mousse which was deep in chocolate flavour without being too sweet. The creme caramel was equally decadent. The deep sweetness of the caramel perfectly flavoured the rich egg and cream custard.
Upon finishing our meal, we couldn't believe the quality, quantity and presentation of the food for the price. I was impressed at Mistral's delicate presentation and execution of its dishes. Moreover, the ambiance was unmistakably French. It is definitely a cut above Les Faux Bourgeios and Salade de Fruits. As for my Filet-O-Fish, I will take a rain check for that this time, I was too full to even eat a fish stick.
- Carefully prepared food
- Good portions at reasonable prices
- Beautifully decorated dining space
- Friendly and attentive staff
- Parking is a bit hard to find
- I didn't have room for a Filet-O-Fish afterwords (what can I say, I love Filet-O-Fish!)
Mistral French Bistro
2585 West Broadway