Dining Review

Bistro by the Bay

Next level dining from the minds behind Crazy Burger

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I am an unabashed fan of Crazy Burger. Even before Guy Fieri put it on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives I was a regular visitor to the restaurant. My grandmother is the one who first brought me there in the mid 1990s. She had read about it in the paper and couldn’t wait to go. As I’ve worked my way through their list of creative burgers, I’ve never had a bad meal. Seeing the 30- to 45-minute wait at Crazy Burger on a Saturday night or a Sunday morning, I can tell there are a lot of people out there who agree with me. Crazy Burger did the most logical thing and opened a new restaurant close to their original location called The Bistro. The Bistro gave the Crazy Burger crew “a chance to expand on ideas [they] haven’t perfected.” Think reservations, locally sourced ingredients and higher end offerings.

The Bistro opened in mid-October on Narragansett Avenue, approximately .7 miles from Crazy Burger. The restaurant is attached to a small inn called The Bed, also run by the Crazy Burger folks. The inn has six rooms and often runs specials in conjunction with the restaurant for combination overnight stays including dinner. A stay at the Inn also includes a coupon for breakfast at Crazy Burger.

The Bistro has an eclectic, throwback vibe. There are strings of globe-style light bulbs throughout the restaurant, which give it a warm glow. On the winter night I was there, we were glad to be out of the cold but could imagine a lovely summer night on the front porch enjoying the salt air. There is a small bar area, but as of this writing, the restaurant has yet to obtain a liquor license. For now, the restaurant is BYOB, so be sure to stock up before dinner. Pier Liquors in the Pier Market Place is close by if you forget to bring something from home. The menu at the Bistro is on the smaller side, but that didn’t make my dining choices any easier. I had two friends along for the meal, so we were able to try a lot of food. We started with three appetizers: Oysters Rockafella ($12.95), Baked Herbed Goat Cheese ($10.95) and Butternut Pistachio Bisque ($6.95). We were excited to see the Oysters Rockafella was made with Matunuck oysters, and it came five to an order. They were tasty and had a twist of cilantro butter. The goat cheese was served piping hot and topped with a thyme-heavy herbed crust. I loved how the grilled dipping bread sat in a puddle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Our only wish was for more bread to dip. One of my friends enjoyed the Butternut Bisque so much she didn’t want to share. The one bite I took was creamy, heavily spiced and quite good.

The entrées on the menu are reasonably priced with nothing over $24, and that includes a filet mignon. When I saw the description of the Bistro Burger ($16.95), I knew I had to order it. I was sold on the words “croissant roll,” and I’m pleased to report it was as good as it sounded. The char broiled grass fed beef patty was cooked to a perfect medium temperature then topped with braised onions, bacon, gruyere cheese, arugula and tomato. The menu said it also came with maple Pommery mayo, but I didn’t have any on my burger and frankly, it didn’t need it. The menu said the burger was served with frites and that excited me. The Bistro’s version of frites are more like roasted potato wedges, and I liked that I was able to mix white potato and sweet potato. My two friends argued over who was going to order the Fish Tacos ($17.95). The friend who won the battle seemed to enjoy everything about them – the crispy fried cod, the fresh pico de gallo, the citrusy avocado crema and the grilled flour tortillas. She claimed to not be a fan of quinoa but ate every bite of the chimichurri quinoa served on the side. The friend who lost out on the fish tacos appreciated her second choice – the Shrimp Risotto ($19.95). The shrimp were perfectly sized (not too big) for searing. When my friend mixed the shrimp with the accompanying artichokes and pea puree enhanced risotto, she said it was a wonderful blend.

The service throughout the meal was excellent. The waitress was that rare mixture of friendly and efficient. We hadn’t brought any wine or beer, so we just drank water. Though there was a carafe of water on our table, our waitress was quick to refill our glasses throughout the night.

When it came time for dessert, we had three choices, and all were made in house: Flourless Chocolate Cake ($5.95), Rum Caramel Apple Ice Cream ($7) and Pomegranate Swirl Cheesecake ($6). We had a difficult time choosing because they all sounded good, but we decided on the ice cream and the cake. Due to a mix up with our order, the waitress also brought us a piece of cheesecake. My favorite was the ice cream – I took one bite and immediately wanted more. The ice cream was sitting in a pool of some of the most delicious caramel sauce I’ve ever had. If the caramel sauce were its own dessert, I would order it. The other two desserts were yummy as well.

If you’re like me and love Crazy Burger but you’re not good at waiting for a table, you should definitely give The Bistro a try.

The Bistro
83 Narragansett Avenue, Narragansett
284-3535