Thursday, August 1, 2013

Bistro Vivant - Gettin' French in the 'burbs

Bistro Vivant
1394 Chain Bridge Rd. McLean VA, 22101 McLean, VA 22101
(703) 356-1700

Two fixtures of the DC Metro restaurant scene, Domenico Cornacchia and Aykan Demiroglu,
opened a great little spot in McLean a couple of years ago. I've known both owners since their days
with Le Paradou and Cafe Milano, so I knew the food was going to be good.
I'm glad I took the trip across the bridge.
I was joined by a very good friend, Dr. Paul as his friends know him, for a lovely Friday night Dinner.

I think it's a rule that you have to start with a glass of bubbly at a bistro. I didn't want to chance breaking any rules, so we went for it. 
Rather than order from the menu, we elected to let the chef send us courses as he pleased. Please keep in mind that there were two of us the courses were split between two of us, so actual food on the plate is much likely smaller than you'd get if you ordered for one! That being said, we started with a lamb meatball with pickled onions. The onions added a nice crunch to the lamb. 
Octopus is a tough dish to get right. The smoky red pepper sauce was a good accompaniment. The octopus was just cooked through so it wasn't tough or chewy. Nicely done.
Next up was a nice pinot. 
The fois wasn't on the menu, but I'd asked about it earlier in the week and was told they had some. This was served over arugula and some peaches with kosher salt. The bitterness of the arugula was a stark contrast to the salty and sweet of the rest of the dish. Not your usual presentation, and it worked well.
The bouillabaisse had a fragrant broth that tasted more of sea than added salt. The seafood was just right and not overdone.
This was a very pretty dish: Lamb braised, then fried in chicken skin. It was almost there, but the lamb was slightly dried out. The chicken skin was a nice contrast. 
This was my favorite dish of the evening, after the fois gras of course. Arctic Char over smoky bacon with corn and mushrooms. We spent a few minutes discussing the dish with the owner. The bacon was perfect and the level of smoke was off the charts, but not overpowering. Just right. The fish was also done nicely. The best part was the skin, which had been scaled and was crisped to perfection. It really added a nice contrast to the texture of the fish and the veggies.
For dessert it was a frozen peach that had been hollowed out and re-filled with cream and the peaches. Seasonal and light. A good end to a good dinner.

Overall, a good experience. The staff was very friendly and attentive. Dinner progressed at a nice pace, they have a good wine list, and it's easy to get to and easy to park. It would be nice if there were more places like this in the 'burbs.
If you go, please be sure to let them know you heard about it at Pleasures of the Table.
Bistro Vivant on Urbanspoon
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