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Apr 23, 2014 05:54 PM

Michel Bistro - Oakland

Michel Bistro opened on April 18 and I'm hearing good things this early in the game. Who's tried it? How's the pastis bar?

Michel Bistro
3343 Lakeshore Avenue
Oakland, CA
(510) 836-8737

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  1. Yelp reviews sound great...Robert L. do you plans on checking it out?

    1. I stopped in for a glass of wine to check it out. The wine list at Amelie was a weak spot so I was worried but this is short and strong. All French, six VdP, six AOC, eight "cru" available by glass, 375, 500, or bottle, plus a few special bottles.

      Since they had my favorite Beaujolais, PUR Cote de Py Morgon, I got that. Temperature was correct. Had a andouillette sandwich from the brunch menu, great housemade mustard and pickled onions, the andouillette itself was a bit mild for my taste but good.

      Staff were mostly if not all speaking French.

      Tues.-Sun. 5:30-9:30pm, brunch Sat. and Sun. 10:30-2:30

      5 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        FWIW, I got a note from a friend today that she'd tried a Tannat here, describing it as "very dark and stormy" and that she liked the wine.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          The 2008 Peyros, I noticed that.

          "Pastis bar" seems like a bit of an exaggeration, they have four plus an absinthe or two.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Tried this, enjoyed it a lot. Moderate barnyard/leather otherwise fairly juicy cherry/plum. Very smooth, presumably due to the age? Or maybe the vinification? I have not had a lot of Madiran, so don't really know the baseline.

            I enjoyed the lamb burger, especially the Vadouvan, but I've decided that I am done with Feta or hard blue on burgers. Tartare was also good. Nice atmosphere, a good addition to the neighborhood. I especially appreciate the price point and portion size.

            1. re: twocents

              I guess you're saying that you liked the cheddar on the lamb burger?

              I bought a case of 2001 Peyros in 2006 and it was still tannic enough that I let it sit in the cellar for maybe two years before I started drinking it.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Thanks for the info on the Peyros.

                I was confused about the cheese, I didn't read my menu closely enough, or just forgot. I guess it could have been aged white cheddar, but it really tasted like the white part of a firm blue (but no blue streaks) or less-salty feta. Anyway, I didn't like the cheese on it. I generally order burgers without cheese anyway, this was just unpleasant and distracted from the rest of the burger for me.

        2. We went for brunch this weekend and were really pleased--will definitely be back to try dinner. The menu at brunch is pretty simple, but well done. Benedict and omelette were especially good--omelette is served just off the fire in a cast iron pan. The place was practically empty, which was also nice since almost everywhere on Grand and Lakeshore has a crazy wait at peak brunch hours. We had young kids along, and in addition to having a nice/appropriate kids' menu (probably par for the course given the neighborhood), I loved that the waitress actually spoke directly to our preschooler when taking orders and later when asking how the food was--a subtle but surprisingly unusual thing. Among the more interesting menu items for the American palate was citron pressé--fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice, brought straight for you to sweeten or dilute as needed. (They also have more traditional French lemonade.) Their pastries come from a bakery in San Francisco (maybe Petit Pains? I asked and they did tell me the name, but it wasn't a place I knew so it didn't register) and the bits I tried of other people's seemed good.

          In a nutshell: the food was tasty and priced in accordance with the neighborhood (which is to say, not cheap but not crazy). I appreciated that even with the plethora of brunch spots and bakeries in Grand Lake, it actually felt like something new/different for the neighborhood, and it was small/intimate enough that it did feel like a neighborhood bistro. Loved not having to wait for a large group, but I'm not holding my breath on that lasting long! We'll be back to try dinner soon.

          1. Was here for dinner this evening, and everything was excellent.

            Escargots -- earthy, tender bites in garlicky butter. I didn't really detect mushroom as described on the menu, but they were very tasty and we ate far too much bread as we sopped up the butter.

            Bison tartar -- tasty, came pre-mixed so we didn't see the quail egg. Lots of mustard, maybe a little more parsley than I prefer.

            Dorade -- perfect, crispy skin. Semi-filleted. With lemon cucumber, fennel, sea beans, more parsley, plenty of black pepper and a white foam (mostly tasted of salt). This was a great entree, and I will be back for it.

            Moules frites -- delicious with the normal pernod sauce that had larger chunks of lemon zest than I've seen before, excellent. We were way too full, but they refused to wrap it (for good reason), so we finished them despite being over full.

            Sadly, that meant no dessert.

            My friend had a glass of chenin blanc from the Cru menu, which she wasn't wild about (sorry, don't remember the specifics), but I had a glass of ginger beer that was excellent and mildly spicy and ... not overpriced! I think it was 2$.

            Anyway, really think this is an excellent addition to the Grand Lake area. Excited for Shakewell to open practically next door.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Torina

              I'm surprised there is not more Chow activity at Michel Bistro...anyone been recently?

            2. early june, Michel Bistro had it together, 11ish items on menu
              eats: lamb burger(13)ordered medium rare, got it
              -big glob of fresh meat, vadouvan, pepper cress, aioli, poppyseed bun.
              very enjoyable. best lamb sammie ever
              -tiny crispy fries, deliz

              artisan bread served: loving it.
              drink: pati sazerac (10)orleans orign

              -food, drinks fab, great value, fab service