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Nov 28, 2008 09:14 PM

Albany: Bistro 1491 opens in the Walker Pie Shop location

They serve breakfast lunch and dinner.

I just stopped by to check out the menu, but the soup of the day was clam chowder ... and never one to pass up chowder, I took some home.

This was a very respectable version that is potato based and thickened. The first spoonful made me think it was only going to be potato soup but the clams had settled to the bottom and once stirred there was nice clam flavor with obviously fresh chopped clams.

I had clam chowder the day before on Fisherman's Wharf at The Franciscan. That was a good version, similarily potato-based. However, the chowder at Bistro 1491 made it obvious the differnce between merely good chowder and very good chowder. This was richer the difference with using fresh clams, though not a lot, just put it on a higher level.

They try to use organic ingredients and use eco-friendly practices. The web site has more info.

There is absolutely no trace of Walkers with the exception of the green tiles outside. The interior is now yellow. The website has a little picture

Standard breakfast scrambles, omelets pancakes, French toast. A few of the more creative dishes

- Beef Short Rib Hash - Yukon Gold Potato, Onions, Bell Peppers, Poached Eggs and Hollandaise Sauce

- Smoked Salmon Breakfast Panini - Dill Cream Cheese, Arugula, Red Onion and served with Fresh Fruits

- Almond Crusted Vanilla French Toast.- Sweet Egg Brioche, Cinnamon, Honey Mascarpone Cream Cheese, Maple Syrup

Some lunch and dinner items

- Eggplant Fries - Basil Aioli and Spicy Marinara

- Crispy Ginger Calamari - Semolina crusted Baby Squid with Green Onion Aioli

- Crispy Pork Tenderloin Sandwich - Red Leaf Lettuce, Onion Sprouts, and Cranberry Aioli on Sourdough

- Bouillabaisse

- Seafood Quesadilla

- Pan Roasted Miso-Sake Marinated Butterfish Dried Mango Israeli Couscous, Baby Bok Choy, and Yuzu Miso Sauce

It seems like a place that would satisfy adventurous and timid eaters. There are items like short ribs, rack of lamb and even surf and turf. There's one vegan entree.

From the website ... " Our chef worked in the Five-Star restaurant, White Orchid, award winning restaurant, Romanza, and the Duck Club at the Lafayette Park Hotel"

The name comes from the address, 1491 Solano Ave.

Bistro 1491
1491 Solano Ave, Albany, CA

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  1. Thanks for the report. It sounds like it fills in nicely for Walker's in an updated way.

    Not that it matters, but any idea if it's the same owners who took over Walker's a few years back?

    2 Replies
    1. re: ML8000

      I don't think so. These people seemed mid-30's and could be Japanese ... but not certain.

      1. Dinner prices seem reasonable.

        Rack of Lamb - $18.75
        Surf and Turf - $17.25

        Nothing over $20.

        1. My dining partner and I had a very nice meal this evening at this new bistro. She had a dinner special (grilled mahi mahi with a caper and lemon butter sauce, quinoa with herbs and onions, and lightly steamed broccoli and cauliflower) for $15.25. I had the crispy braised duck legs for $15.75. Both were well executed. The mahi mahi was cooked perfectly, just past translucent, and the sauce had just the right degree of piquancy. I love duck, especially the legs (and thighs), and the Bistro 1491 version with the balsamic reduction was tender and moist. The sides also deserve praise, especially the orzo, with the sauteed fresh shitake mushrooms, and the perfectly stir-fried chard and greens. Since the desserts aren't made on the premises, we decided to have the deep fried eggplant with the spicy marinara sauce. If you like eggplant, you'll love this appetizer. The eggplant is sliced like french fries, coated in a light panko batter, then fried to a golden brown. The wine choices were interesting and reasonably priced. We were happy with our bottle of 2006 Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel at $24. Lastly, the service was attentive and thoughtful. We'll go back.

          1. Had 3 pieces, crisp not greasy fish, not so crisp chip and slaw, non mayo. Wife had short ribs, good taste, slightly chewy with 2 kinds potatoes, baby bok choy, carrots and broccoli. The other couple had the Tuscan sandwich and the baby back ribs. 3 glasses wine 1 lemonade.This month Saturday and Sunday all wines 50% off. Bill $65 before tip. Good neighbor restaurant, will return.

            1. Went to 1491 last night for dinner with 2 friends. We had BBQ ribs, short ribs & snapper entree's. All were very good. Good vegetables and cole slaw. Also shared beet salad w/ goat cheese - delicious. Also shared cheesecake for dessert, very light and good. The prices are very reasonable, food & wine. We will definitely be going back. I hope more people realize that it is there and how good it is. It was almost empty the whole time we were there. It would be a shame if it doesn't make it. We need more places like this with good & reasonable food.