Tuesday, November 8, 2011 , Updated 10:08 a.m., November 9, 2011
UPDATED with video: Bistro 31 in Highland Park Village has unique pasta dishes
Alberto Lombardi's latest features chef Eric Brandt.
Alberto Lombardi is a Dallas restaurant legend. Almost everything he touches turns to gold. Delicious, edible gold.
His latest concept, Bistro 31 in Highland Park Village, is our dining trifecta: great food, great service, and fantastic people watching, thanks to plenty of entertaining plastic-surgery don’ts.
But really, food is where Bistro 31 excels. Chef Eric Brandt has done a terrific job of combining influences from Spain, Italy, and France into a unified menu where not a single dish feels out of place.
Bistro 31 is also a place where sometimes-scary ingredients can completely change opinions. Let’s start with escargot. Too often they come out rubbery with little more than a garlic-butter sauce. (And let’s face it, snails are already pretty boring.) Here, they get star treatment. With crispy pork belly, trumpet mushrooms, and a walnut pistou (that’s French for pesto, y’all), a modern presentation only enhances the delicious little fellas.
For entrées, the expertly seared diver scallops with Yukon potato mousseline and a kalamata olive vinaigrette are among the best scallops we’ve enjoyed in a long time.
Yet it’s an Italian dish (as it should be) that really sings, “Lombardi!” (Go ahead, use your outside opera voice to join in!) The trofie (pronounced TRO-fee-eh) is a pasta dish that we’ve craved ever since the first time we tasted it. And we’ve been back twice to indulge again.
Trofie is a skinny, spiral pasta (made in-house, of course), the perfect shape for attracting every bit of delicious flavor from crispy pancetta, roasted cauliflower, parmesan cream, and another feared ingredient – the anchovy. At Bistro 31 they’re used in anchovy bread crumbs, and we promise you, even if you think you hate the tiny fishies, you’d never even know they were here other than the complex saltiness they bring to the dish.
For now, desserts are nothing spectacular and we’d rather carb-load with pasta than yet another booooring panna cotta.
Oh, and don’t forget to try our favorite evening drink – the gin and homemade tonic – and toast with us to another Lombardi hit.
UPDATE from Savor Wine and Food:
Alberto Lombardi has hit a home run with his sleek, chic Bistro 31 in Highland Park Village. Everything about this restaurant speaks to the consummate talent of one of the world’s great restaurateurs. Great food? Natch. Especially when you hire Eric Brandt (formerly of Mansion on Turtle Creek) as executive chef. Great service? Of course, Lombardi is the master. While you’re at it if you can get Marcus Cascio (former Mansion Restaurant GM) to head up operations and training, you’re on the right track. Setting? Sublime and comfortable. And there’s more on the way with renovations to the patio and the addition of a hip upstairs lounge on the way. Take a look at our latest “have iPhone will travel” video for a taste, and then do yourself a favor and visit Bistro 31 right away. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; whenever you’re hungry!
Wining and Dining with Jim White - Bistro 31
Pegasus News Content partner - Gay List Daily
Pegasus News Content partner - Savor Wine and Food
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