Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A bit of France in northeast Ohio

Owner Georges and owner-chef Claudie, courtesy of Le Bistro du Beaujolais

Le Bistro du Beaujolais
8134 Columbia Road
Olmsted Falls, Ohio

A cozy restaurant serving delicious French food is a great find anytime. Finding one in a quiet suburb, next door to a gas station and across the street from the Discount Drug Mart, is somehow even more delightful.

The co-owners of Le Bistro du Beaujolais say that they chose this little yellow house, built in 1830, for their restaurant because it reminded them of France. "The surroundings are also true to form of the heart of a French city, where people actually walk in the streets," they write on their Web site.

Main dining room, courtesy of Le Bistro du Beaujolais

The last time I ate here, it was a cold, raw night, and the French onion soup was the perfect antidote. The broth was dark and rich and beefy, the bread was still crisp and there was just enough cheese. My mother had a delicious cream of broccoli soup. Our host, the charming Georges, accused her of licking her bowl clean, and every plate thereafter. (We were very hungry.)

For the second course, I ate cote de porc et sa sauce a la chataigne, a thick roasted pork chop with chestnut sauce. Chestnuts are another wintertime bonus, and they make an unctuous sauce, almost (but not quite) too rich. Crusty browned potatoes and a simple assortment of vegetables rounded out the plate. Mom had grilled mahi mahi, served with a three-pepper salsa and rice pilaf.

Next time I would try magret de canard aux noisettes pralinees, grilled duck breast with a homemade hazelnut praline; or escalopine de veau a l'orange, veal scaloppini with creamy orange sauce.

Desserts are ideally sized, big enough to seem like a splurge, small enough that we didn't feel compelled to split anything. Both of us were well satisfied with the chocolate raspberry bavarois, a creamy molded custard.

Monsieur Georges unhesitatingly recommended glasses of Beaujolais to accompany our entrees, and we appreciated his advice. We thawed and revived and drank toasts, to a new baby born that day, and to other absent family members who were on our minds and in our hearts that night.

Le Bistro Du Beaujolais in Olmsted Falls

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