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Jun 18, 2010 12:09 AM

Sitting at the Charcuterie Bar in Windsor’s Bistro M

Two weeks ago I popped into newish Bistro M on the Windsor Town Green for a late lunch. Shades down, no hours posted nor an “open” sign. For all intents, the place looked closed at 2pm. But I tried the door which was unlocked, then poked my head in to see if the bistro was open. I think I startled the hostess but she regained her composure quickly to greet me warmly.

Directly ahead, the oyster/charcuterie bar offered a few seats overlooking the open kitchen. Here’s the day’s oyster offerings, priced at $1.75 each.

And, the charcuterie selection posted over the bar. Served with housecured pickled vegetables, greens and mustard, a plate of three selections is $12.

Bistro M stays open between lunch and dinner, offering an all-day menu at that time. Besides the oysters and charcuterie, this includes the items on the “Avec Frites” menu:
Flatiron steak with onion jam
Boudin blanc tartine
Chicken salad tartine
Vegetable & brie tartine
Croque madame
Lamb neck

Eating alone, I took a seat at the charcuterie bar. I had a bird's eye view of the chef enrobing this Croque Madame, $10, with a luscious mornay sauce.

Then he tossed the frites with seasonings and added them to all the plates.

Half-jokingly I called out to him to save one for me to taste. And, voila! He gave me this little plate with three piping hot, seasoned frites.

On this hot and muggy day, a cold lunch of charcuterie and veggies sounded good to me. I picked the trout rillettes, duck liver mousse and house-cured salmon, all made in-house. Of the day’s menu, the pork pate was also housemade.

Accompanied by lightly dressed salad greens, a quenelle of whole grain mustard, really good housemade pickles, and bread and butter, this was just the right amount for a light lunch. Thickly cut salmon (like gravlax without the dill), intense and earthy duck liver mousse, and my favorite, the trout rillettes (once warmed up a bit from ice-cold), all well-executed and delicious. I was a happy camper.

I downed the 750ml of ice water in carafe and didn’t look at the wine list. Yet I did note that the corkage is $11 per bottle, waived per bottle purchased, which is a good deal.

The extended hours through mid-day will be handy for wine-tasting visitors who sometimes lose track of the hour and get shut out of other dining establishments. The lunch and dinner menus are the same here. There’s also a Sunday brunch menu offering a sweetbreads benedict that’s calling my name. My friendly waitress said that the place is very busy on Sundays with shoppers from the morning farmers market on the Town Green.

What else have chowhounds tried here?

Bistro M
610 McClelland Dr, Windsor, CA 95492

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  1. you're breaking my heart - the sweetbreads benedict of my dreams - but only on Sundays.

    1. We had a very nice late lunch there a couple months ago with my mom. Very reasonable, too.

      5 Replies
      1. re: mrs bacon

        Yes, nice prices. I was so happy to be sitting in air conditioned-comfort. Also it has a full bar, though I didn't look at the cocktail menu. Do you recall what you ordered? I'm curious about the lamb neck but it will probably have to wait until fall.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          My picky daughters liked the lamb necks at Mirepoix, and I assume it is the same. I just can't escape the sweetbreads to try the lamb.

          1. re: OldTimer

            Well, at Bistro M you can have the sweetbreads with fries or as benedict at Sunday brunch. I hope you'll brunch and let us know how it is.

            Bistro M
            610 McClelland Dr, Windsor, CA 95492

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              We had eggs benedict the other day at home, and I couldn't help thinking about sweetbreads benedict. Isn't that a bit of overkill. A sure gout-producer. I do recall at the Madison Hotel in DC years ago, braised sweetbreads with a slice of smithfield and hollandaise under glass. I was duly impressed.

          2. re: Melanie Wong

            Steak frites, IIRC; escargots to start? We had just done two winery pickups, so I don't think we had cocktails.