Bistro Liaison - Berkeley
Tried the $28 (including a glass of wine) prix-fixe last night. I think it was the best meal I've had here.
Had a few slices of saucisson sec and olives to start, then a yellow and red beet "Napoleon" with toasted walnuts and goat-cheese fondue (huge helping), then perfectly roasted pork tenderloin with a red-wine reduction (?) and a nice corn pudding (again, big serving). By the time we finished, they had run out of the pain perdu, so we got our choice of desserts, and went for tart tatin, one of which would have been plenty for two to share.
The wines were good, an Arrogant Frog sauvignon blanc and a Cahors, $5 by the glass if ordered separately. We got a bottle of the Cahors, a good value at $23.
The prix-fixe is available Monday through Thursday. Wednesday nights there's no corkage.
1849 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709
Thanks for the tip, Robert! We tried the Prix Fixe on Monday and it was lovely. Looks like they aren't varying the menu too much, but I'm not complaining.
Same saucisson sec and olives--and great bread--to start, then a choice of mesclun salad or shrimp bisque (we got one of each, and both were good), followed by a large portion of roast pork with a prune-y sauce (I think they called it a demiglace but I'm not 100% sure) and garlic mashed potatoes. The sauce was a little too sweet for me but my companion loved it. Cherry clafoutis for dessert. Wine was decent, too, but I can't remember the details.
Also, the service was very good. Efficient, but not rushed. And it was fairly busy at 7:00.
Was just there 3 days before you! The Onion Tart was one of the best things I have ever tasted. Seaford/Bouillabaisse was beautiful but boiling hot, steam pouring off of it. I had to eat the delicate choices first so they wouldn't be overdone. Great flavor! Better than if it was cold! Too full for dessert!
That's certainly good news. We gave up eating dinner there several years ago because the prices kept going up to the point where the food wasn't just not good value for the price, it was downright bad value. And the menu was ordinary and predictable and seldom changed much. But we continued to eat lunch there. The lunch prices were still very reasonable and who cared if the food was essentially always the same. We'll have to give the prix-fixe a try. I had also considered going to one of their wine nights dinners. Has anyone done that?
I had the prix-fixe again the other night. This time it was a thick slice of pork terrine, a delicious minestrone thickened with bread, a classic blanquette de veau (veal stew) with mushrooms and pearl onions, and strawberry shortcake with a nice texture from some coarse cornmeal. Servings were generous, it was really a lot of food for the price.
I went a week or two ago and the prix-fixe wasn't appealing (roasted salmon, chocolate mousse) so I ordered a la carte. The Salade Quercynoise ($14) included a huge piece of duck confit, gizzard confit, walnuts, a hard-boiled egg, and greens, plus a small goat-cheese crostino that didn't make much sense. Really a lot of food for the money. I also got the "croque Americain," i.e., burger ($10) with a half pound of Niman beef. It was OK but I wouldn't order it again. The fries were really good, very crisp but creamy in the middle. I didn't expect the salad to be so rich, this was really too much food.
1849 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709
I had another good meal the other night. The chef rolled pork belly and then sliced it, so it was shaped sort of like a hamburger patty, and somehow got it crisp almost all the way through. This was served with a big helping of delicious lentils. This would have been plenty for a main course and was an sane bargain at $10. I also had a nice cassoulet with duck confit, Toulouse sausage, and merguez for $24, which was enough for two main courses (I took the confit home). Finished with an old-school baba au rhum ($7), yeasty, crunchy roll served with whipped cream and then doused with infused rum at the table so you had to wait for the liquid to seep in.
It's nice to have at least one place in the Berkeley area to put on the old-school French bistro feedbag.