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Has anyone been to Bistro Elan lately?

I'd like something not too formal for our ann'y. My last meal at BE 4 yrs ago was nice but noisy (hubby likes to eavesdrop, but I prefer calm). Has anyone been there lately, or have an alternate suggestion? TIA!

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  1. I went there about two months ago - very loud. Food was pretty good but not as good as I expected given the raves it receives. Have you been to Village Pub in Woodside? Much quieter and really yummy food (and a nice romantic setting). Also have heard great things about Marche in Menlo Park but haven't been myself.

    2 Replies
    1. re: takuhead

      You're right - I'd forgotten how much more I liked VP than BE! But every one dresses to the nines at VP, and I wanted to wear jeans. Thanks for the reminder, though.

      1. re: Claudette

        I wear jeans to VP - I do try for clean clothes (meaning no childrens' paw prints etc) I think you can go dressy or casual.
        They make a great caeser salad there and I heard they have a sweetbreads app that I would love to find out if it's any good....
        Happy Anniversary!

    2. Marche and Village Pub are both good. And I wouldn't worry about the jeans. It's California. I always figure that once I sit down who cares what I am wearing on my legs:).

      1. Bistro Elan's food remains good, but not perfectly consistently so. Here are things that I've tried in the last year that seem to get me what I want, at least compared to the other people at my table:

        - Order off-menu. In particular, I ask for a main that is just a plate of vegetables. This is consistently delicious, even for meat-eaters. Substituting sides also can help; I've heard it helps elsewhere, although I suppose it suggests you are trying to do menu design for them.

        - Make sure to get fries. Bistro Elan has had excellent frites every time I've been.

        - Potatoes in a dish seems to be a good sign

        - From my perspective, skip the soups. I've had bad luck with un-blended flavor combinations and twice getting soup too cold (the inventor of the broad soup bowl should be fed nothing but congealed gravy for the rest of eternity)

        - Sit on the patio or at one of the tables by the window if you don't like noise. The big table near the counter can fill up with youthful exuberants. Go early or check to see who is there before getting tabled.

        Elan hires good waitstaff, and specific questions to them about dishes usually get honest answers: 'of these two dishes, which is outstanding?' and the like.

        1 Reply
        1. re: David Sloo

          Useful tips! I'll add that I've had bad luck ordering anything that has a touch of Asia in it, e.g., bad tamarind sauce and icky green curry sauce. Have you noticed anything Swedish on the menu?

        2. Asian food are you out of your mind! The menu is California french. Never a Tamarind sauce
          or green curry...must have been somewhere else. This will go into the archives. Kind of funny,
          but not really.

          3 Replies
          1. re: lifer

            The menu is California-french which means it has many different influences. I wouldn't consider these flights of fancy "Asian" food, just a Swedish chef experimenting and not being very sucessful at that side of the coin. I've had tamarind sauce on scallops and fish in a green curry sauce at Bistro Elan, neither of which were very good. They are in the archives - here are links to those posts -
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            Have you eaten at Bistro Elan every day or read each and every menu?

              1. re: lifer

                Now that's funny! (vbg)

                P.S. Please do share some of your favorites. Would love to hear how Bistro Elan has earned such a place in your affections.