Vive La Bastille Brasserie & Bar
By The Gastronomes
Vive La Bastille Brasserie & Bar
The month of June brought us some long lost freedoms. The wearing of face masks due to the pandemic were lightened. We began to see what people really looked like and finally saw the smiles that had been missing for over a year. Businesses began to increase their capacity for customers and restaurants began to return to normal even though it is a “new” normal. We didn’t feature a specific restaurant in this section for over a year and our first was River Bend Bistro in the June issue.
With the celebration of Bastille Day coming up in July, we decided to return to one of our favorite restaurants for this month’s Dining Out column – Bastille Brasserie & Bar. Though not in the heart of Old Town, this casual, classy place is the perfect spot for a nice dinner for two, an intimate party or just dining all by yourself.
Before the pandemic, owners Michelle and Christophe Poteaux, had just up-ticked the entire restaurant into an even more charming contemporary establishment – the best part being the new seats at the bar. The interior is very welcoming and you can watch the kitchen staff do their thing via a window in the main dining room. In addition to the main room there is another dining room at the rear of the restaurant, a very attractive outdoor patio and a small dining section in the Bar area.
The food and drink at Bastille has never disappointed and we dine there often. Their use of seasonal, locally sourced and farm fresh ingredients is part of the key. They have a huge wine list from around the world, draught and bottled beer and several popular creative specialty/craft cocktails – many of which are the brainchild of Bar Manager Jacob Sunny. This trip we started out with a hand crafted vodka gimlet and a Summer Equinox from the specialty cocktail menu. We aren’t going to divulge Jacob’s secrets here so you need to plan a trip to check it out.
The husband and wife team opened Bastille in the Fayette Street location in 2006. Chef Christophe’s cooking is rooted in his French heritage and features reimagined classic French dishes. Chef Michelle’s desserts are nothing short of amazing. They are rich in nothing but vibrant French flavors and techniques, sprinkled with influences from her time growing up in the Midwest, living in California and now the East Coast.
The menu is decidedly French with some American influences, featuring Cassoulet de Porc Confit, Moules Mariniere, Coq au Vin, Noix de Saint Jacques (seared sea scallops, and sustainably raised Atlantic Salmon. The appetizers, salads and soups include Escargots Persillade, Beignets de Crevettes, Rillettes de Saumon, Onion soup, Salade Caesar and fantastic Salade de Betteraves et de’Agrumes aka beet salad.
On the night we were there we both opted for the three course bistro menu for $39. I started off with the beet salad consisting of delicious roasted beets with orange wedges, pistachio nuts and goat cheese on a bed of Arugula. Growing up, I never liked beets but as I got older I began to appreciate this delightful vegetable and the Bastille version is the best. There is also a dressing of some sort that must be the secret to this dish. Ms. Gastronome opted for the classic French onion soup. It is also a mainstay order for me in most places that offer it. The Bastille version is pretty much perfect – the base is roasted onion broth and the caramelized onions, crostini and melted Gruyere cheese are in just the right proportions. For my main course I got the Amish Chicken Cutlet. This is a new addition to the regular menu. It was previously offered as a special. This tender chicken breast comes topped with an espelette and pepper tomato sauce and is served with tender, fresh green beans, carrot slivers and roasted red potatoes. The tomato sauce added an interesting flavor to the tender chicken while the vegetables were al dente and flavorful and the potatoes cooked just right. The other half chose the Atlantic sea scallops on a bed of corn and fennel risotto and tomato coulis. She is a big risotto fan and Chef Christophe knows how to make it to her high standards.
All meals start off with a complimentary bread basket that is hard to ignore if you are trying to avoid carbs. There are also several vegan and gluten free items on the menu that are quite appealing.
For dessert, I chose my old favorite Creme brulee. This rich offering was prepared just right. It was nice and firm in the middle, not runny like some have been and the glazing was spot on. Sticking with her tried and true ending, the selection of house made ice cream and sorbets made their way to the table. Her choice on this trip was a scoop of rhubarb ice cream and a scoop each of passion fruit and raspberry sorbet.
With the capacity in restaurants almost back to 100 percent it is a good time to leave the cooking to someone else. Visit one of our local restaurants and if French food is on your mind, head on over to this Brasserie. Although the location may not be in the heart of Old Town, it is pretty darn close and has plenty of street parking.
Bastille Brasserie & Bar
606 North Fayette Street
Tues – Thurs 4 pm-8:30 pm
Fri & Sat – 4 pm – 9 pm
Sunday Brunch 11 am – 3 pm