Tuesday, March 29, 2011 , Updated 12:08 p.m., February 6, 2013
UPDATED: Watel’s Bistro closed
The restaurant took the place of York Street in 2011.
[Editor's note: Watel's has closed. Below is an original story dated March 29, 2011. At the end is a brief update from February 6, 2013 that the business has now closed.]
It’s funny what a late night gas run can reveal. My wife and I stopped to re-fuel at the Lakewood Texaco last night, and what did our wondering eyes perceive? Just across the street, the “coming soon” signs were gone, and the bright neon shone the happy realization that Watel’s Bistro is now open for business in the venerated site of the former York Street. There was much gnashing of teeth and tearing of cloth when Sharon Hage hung up her toque and closed her wildly popular restaurant about six months ago.
In short order, the word was out that Rene Peeters, chef and owner for the legendary Watel’s planned to open an upscale casual bistro in the location. Foodies have been watching the progress for the last couple of months at 6047 Lewis Street. Tucked in the glamorous setting between the aforementioned convenience store and the Skillman Zuhdi Texaco Garage next door. This location of Skillman Avenue and Lewis has been Mecca for food lovers for a decade. It will be interesting to see how Rene’s interesting menu mix of Mediterranean cuisine with a touch of the Middle East and Belgium thrown in for good measure will be received.
The hour was late, and we had no time to dine, so I just popped into Watel’s Bistro to congratulate Rene. He informed me they had just opened, and told no one. This takes “soft opening” to a new level. Although just a couple of diners were enjoying the subtle comfort of the comfortably redesigned dining room when we stopped by, I believe word of mouth in the neighborhood will reverberate until the new restaurant is soon bustling just as York Street was.
It is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Reservations are available at 214-720-0323. The menu changes daily with chalkboard specials supplementing the staples. Rene gave us a copy of the current menu. Upon review I wished that we had accepted his dinner invitation. Main dish highlights include Mahi in mild curry and coconut milk, beef kabobs with Mediterranean herbs and couscous, pan roasted scallops, Cuban style pork in onion with orange plantains, a duck breast Tagine, beef hanger steak and bouillabaise. Starters include Moroccan Chicken, Veal kidneys, and salmon Roesti.
The jewel box of a restaurant only has about 12 tables, and a tiny kitchen. Ah, but there is magic at this postage stamp sized establishment, and we will definitely be back dining with him often. We wish Rene well in his new venture. It’s a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Here’s a bonus: if you come for an early dinner, you might be able to get your car inspected or oil changed at the Zuhdi Garage! Parking is tricky in the neighborhood. Just a thought.
UPDATE: The restaurant has closed, Eater reports on February 6, 2013.
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