It had been a while since this Short Order writer had stopped by Buena Vista Bistro (BVB), but that didn't stop a friendly server from remembering me from my days spent enjoying well-priced wine at the bistro's side bar. Since its opening in 2008, the spot perfectly reflects the laid-back personality of the surrounding community. Photos of Buena Vista homes hang alongside a collection of French paintings as several parties enjoy a lazy Saturday lunch complete with white Bordeaux ($7 a glass) and laughter. BVB expanded its seating to include an outdoor area, so there's more room than ever, and at Buena Vista Deli, BVB's sister shop, people were filing in to buy goods to make sandwiches and studying over coffee and pastries. The once-deserted strip was alive and busy.
As one of the neighborhood's first serious food joints, Buena Vista Bistro does homemade French international like no one else. "When I first moved to Buena Vista, there was nowhere you could walk to and get a decent meal," says Buena Vista Bistro's chef, Claude Postel. "I think many people would say we helped serve as an anchor for the neighborhood. We love the revitalization and are glad we were part of it."
Everything at BVB is purchased fresh that morning and made in house for unparalleled flavor. In fact, Postel doesn't even have a commercial-size freezer, just a small cool box for the day's goods -- meaning he goes to the market every morning. His menu changes often, but I had the pleasure of indulging in a chef's tasting, which consisted of an octopus appetizer, saffron monkfish, lamb chops with shallots, and mashed potatoes and homemade apple pie à la mode. Tip: Don't send the bread away; you'll want every piece to soak up Postel's sauces. As if that weren't enough, Postel finished the meal by rolling out his handmade cart complete with everything needed to survive a hurricane -- a gas grill, various liqueurs, and all the fixings for crêpe Suzette. "People forgot about flambé a few years ago," Postel says. "But it's fun and a good show." We agree.
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More good news: Chef Postel isn't stopping there. Next up is (drum roll, please) Buena Vista Chocolate & Wine next door, which will be a shop where customers can pick up wine and chocolate on their way to a party. Yes, there will be adult-themed chocolate. For those who can't make it all the way home to taste the chocolate, there'll be a few tables and a small tapas menu from the bistro.
Buena Vista Bistro is open from 11 a.m. to midnight daily, with brunch until 3 p.m. Sundays. There's also a prixe fix lunch menu for $9.95 at the side bar, along with delivery service to the surrounding area for those who want a delicious lunch but can't get away. Bon appétit!
Follow Jen on Twitter @JenMangham.