Artisan Bistro meal (Lafayette CA)
Went to Artisan Bistro with high expectations as the Chef (John Marquez) has quite a pedigree. Overall on the food side of things we were not disappointed. We started off with a 1/4 bottle of Gosset Champagne which is closed with a screwcap (I had never seen a screwcapped Champagne). The Champagne was lively and fresh. My wife had the Frisse Salad which was good but a bit overdressed. I had the Salmon Tartare which was quite good. None of the items overwelmed any of the other and everything came together quite well. For our mains my wife had the Pan Roasted Duck Breast (we brought a bottle of 1999 Red Burgundy which went quite well with the duck) which was quite tasty and perfectly cooked. I had the Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb (Medium Rare) which was perfectly done, seared on the outside and nice and pink on the inside. We also got an order
Now to back up a bit, when we entered the restaurant we noticed that the noise level was quite high. As our meal went on the noise got worse and in fact by the end of the meal the noise level was painful.
So the server comes to take our desert order and misunderstands my wife who wanted an explanation about the deserts and the server thought she said "no thanks" about wether to order desert (she had wanted to the goat cheese torte but waned some information about it first).
Overall the food is very good. However the noise level is intolerable and we can't go back until the dinning room is fixed so the noise level is not so high.
Dinner at Artisan Bistro, Lafeyette. Went on a Tuesday night so the noise level was fine as it was only 25% full. I can definitely understand how this place would be unbearable on a weekend. Until they fix the noise, go during off hours. BTW Michael Bauer in the Chron blog has mentioned the employee noise exposure issue, and I think the fashion trend of the super loud restaurant may very well expose the employees to noise levels above OSHA limits.
Enough complaining - The food is brilliant. I started with the beet salad which was well balanced and beautiful to look at. Mi esposa had the foie gras which was very rich, not to my taste but she loved it. Main courses: I had the monkfish wrapped in bacon, which was a balanced flavor along with the mushroom ragout. Excellent. She had the duck which was also very well prepared and flavorful. For dessert, since it wasn't too loud unlike skwid above, our server could hear us order the goat cheese torte. I am not a big cheesecake fan but using goat cheese gives it a twist that was tasty. Wines: Fair selection by the glass, mark up wasn't too gouging. Started with glasses of J Cuvee sparkling and then I had the Vielle Vignes Pouilly Fuisse which went well with the monkfish. Service was superb. Their website is accurate on menus.
As soon as they fix the noise problem, I will go back.