I am trying Mistral for the first time tonight. Any thoughts on what's not to be missed, or what's to be avoided?
Thanks in advance!
Look heavily at the specials list on the right side of the menu before venturing into the main menu on the left side.
Their steak dishes are very expensive, just an fyi.
Lamb is one thing they do consistently well, and whitefish and other seafood also tend to be quite good.
It is not a very adventurous menu, including specials. More like greatest hits.
The wine list is VERY overpriced, and has very few recommendable bottles, as far as I see it. They are more known as a mixed drinks kind of bistro.
Their desserts are generally ho-hum to ho-hum+.
For better desserts, walk diagonally across the street to Max and have a Boylan's root beer float, a 50-50 bar, or one of Jan Purdy's other wonderful desserts, or go west a few blocks and get dessert at the boneyard bistro. Both are better.
I like the variety and quality of the food at Max as well as the bistro food at Boneyard Bistro better than Mistral, yet I go to Mistral fairly frequently, as it has a certain vibe of a French bistro that you just cannot beat.
The creativity of Max and Boneyard are far beyond Mistral, which is really not about creativity, but traditional comfort and the tried and true.
Both Max and Boneyard have MUCH more interesting wine lists as well, and Max will also serve you a mixed drink, while Boneyard cannot.
If picking only one, and it was a first time for both, Max for sure on the food front, yet it also depends on the type of evening you are looking for. If going to Max, request table 12, and you can do it via opentable dot com.
So...we ended up going to Max last night, rather than Mistral. Since we made our reservations a bit late in the game, we ended up sitting outside on the patio. We had great weather, and aside from the traffic noise once in a while, I think the patio was a fine choice.
We both enjoyed the food very much. I started with a crab salad (a special), which was light and refreshing with a bit of avocado and oranges. My companion had the beet salad, which she claimed was excellent. For entrees, I had the seared ahi, and she opted for the salmon special. The ahi was perfectly seared, and I really enjoyed the bonito flakes on top. It was served over risotto, which was very tasty as well. The salmon was also quite good, but I think the ahi was more interesting. We shared the incredibly rich chocolate bread pudding for dessert. I'm not sure what's in the topping (macadamia nuts, maybe?), but it was absolutely delicious!
I have to say that service was a bit off. The restaurant was VERY crowded, and I'm sure this was part of the problem. We were never offered any water (neither bottled nor tap), entrees arrived when our appetizer plates were still on the table, and we weren't able to get anyone's attention when we wanted more wine, coffee, etc. We enjoyed the food so much that these problems didn't really bother us.
Thanks for the tip, Carter :-)
I heard the place was jammed, yet with only 30 reservations, it was staffed at that level plus the usual walk-ins ratio, and thus they ended up doing over 80 dinners, even being one server or runner short.
That is why reservations are an important part of the business.
But glad you enjoyed it. I too like that seared ahi entree.
We were there Thursday night as well and sat on the patio, one of the front tables for two just as you enter. I have to agree that the service was stretched but more and more I'm grateful when a crew can roll with the punches. The host took our drink order, others continued to clear our table throughout the evening. I, too, opted for the salmon special, never having met a mushroom duxelle I didn't like and this one was particulary satisfying coating the fish which sat on a bed of leeks spiked with horseradish. My friend was very happy with his peppered N.Y. steak and we both liked the lumpia and trio of tartars with the hamachi with honeydew a real standout. Dessert was the special profiteroles which were lovely with a coconut lavendar ice cream with white and dark chocolate sauces. One of the strengths of this place it seems to me is that there not afraid of the familiar or the adventureous.