Review: Bidwell Street Bistro

While I’ve been to the Bidwell Street Bistro several times over the past few years, I realized recently that every visit was organized by my dining partners.  The location (strip mall spot in the Target parking lot) has probably contributed to my overlooking it as a desired dining destination when I’m planning… However, yesterday, I used the Yelp app on my iPhone to search for restaurants in the Folsom area and the BSB popped up.  I used the “Make a Reservation” button on the business yelp page, which uses the Open Table reservation feature, and quickly had a 7pm slot for two.

The restaurant is owned by Richard Righton, who also owns Relish Burger Bar (http://www.yelp.com/biz/…) and 36 Handles (http://www.yelp.com/biz/…) in El Dorado Hills, both of which are favorites of mine.

As mentioned earlier, the location is off-putting…but once you are inside, it feels like a Parisian bistro.  The large storefront windows, framed by curtains, and the pretty decor work well to keep your mind off the fact that you are indeed, steps away from mundane shopping and oil changes.  You walk in to an intimate entryway with the hostess booth, plush silk panels separating you from the rest of the restaurant (and protecting the diners from the cold drafts that waft in every time the door is opened…very thoughtful).  The main dining area has 2 and 4 person tables set with white tablecoths, a bar area, and a private dining area off to the right.  We were there on a Tuesday night, and the place was busy…a good sign.

Drinks: We started with Raspberry lemon drops followed by the Renwood Cabernet.

Dinner: We had the cheese plate to start, followed by the Dungeness Crab Cakes with baby green beans, mango salsa, basmati rice and a buerre blanc.  The cheese plate was not memorable, but the crab cakes were another story…roasted, not pan fried, they were light and flakey, and perfectly complemented by the beans and rice.  My friend and I ate every last bite on our plates.

Dessert: Can’t go to a Parisian-themed restaurant and not have dessert…it just won’t do!  I had the Profiteroles (three choux pastries filled with vanilla ice cream, topped with sugared sliced almonds, drizzled with chocolate sauce) and my friend had the Mille Feuille (A napolean: layers of puff pastry, sandwiching Meyer lemon curd and strawberries, topped with whipped cream).  Again, these disappeared quickly, accompanied by groans of sublime bliss.

My mark of a good restaurant: can they make a cappuchino that makes me happy?  My cappuchino was perfect, hot espresso with a good head of froth.

My friend and I spent 2.5 hours there and did not feel rushed through our dinner.  The service was impeccable…the BSB is now in my mental rolodex of restaurants to frequent!

Bidwell Street Bistro
1004 E Bidwell St
Folsom, CA 95630
(916) 984-7500

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Review: Chaatney

Considering I’ve been there three times in the last five days…yes, I believe I’m a fan.

While it has the same owners as Mylapore (in the same plaza)http://www.yelp.com/biz/… , the strategy of owning two vegetarian Indian restaurants in the same plaza works.  How?  Because the cuisine is very different.  Mylapore is traditional South-Indian food while Chaatney is primarily Bombay street food, snack style, quickly prepared, blasts of flavors.

And given that I’m a South Indian from Bombay, this is like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for me.

The restaurant is small, galley style, bright and airy, with cheerful colors and large abstract paintings on the walls.  The servers are helpful and quick to respond, for the most part.  They need to work on eye contact, they seem so shy, it was hard for me to get their attention when I wanted to order more food or get my check.  The food is beautifully presented (see my pics: http://www.yelp.com/biz_… ) and delicious.  They have hired an award-winning chef and it shows.  I tried the bhel puri, dahi sev puri, pani puri, puri combo, malai kulfi, gulab jamun, and the masala chai.  All hit the spot.  The food is generally served chili-hot, so if you can’t handle the heat, ask for it to be spiced mild.

The little two-seater table immediately to the left by the windows as you walk in is my regular seat…if you are sitting there and you see me come in, I’d appreciate it if you found somewhere else to sit.

Chaatney
1750 Prairie City Rd
Folsom, CA 95630
(916) 985-9600