Excellent! The menu changes weekly, ingredients come from local sources, and the staff is attentive and welcoming. We decided to visit for Emily’s (belated) birthday dinner. All she’d requested was that “it be new and a surprise”. R Bistro was both.
For starters, the bread (crusty on the outside, warm and doughy on the inside) was perfect, and our salads were exellent.
Christopher had seared scallops served with swiss chard and cheesy polenta. On a whim, Emily ordered ham with potatoes au gratin and sauteed leeks. The server made quite a point in warning us that the ham would be served room-temperature. She appreciated the heads-up, and her dinner was so good that she did that thing where she crosses her eyes and closes them, and raises her eyebrows.
We found the service staff to be friendly and helpful. The owner’s husband meandered about and conversed with the patrons, so it was fun for us to eavesdrop and feel like we’re hip to what’s hapenning in the Mass Ave district.
Dessert and coffee weren’t the highlights of our experience, however. Coffee beans were from Hubbard and Cravens, a local roaster, whose beans are consistently more roasted than we prefer. Compound that with the fact that our coffee was brought to us in a French press, where all but the first cup was over-steeped in over-roasted beans, and the result was disappointing bitter coffee. Next time we’ll have a glass of port instead.
All in all, we are upset with ourselves for not visiting R Bistro sooner. It’s easily a new favorite!
Update 1/2005: Our bad for leaving a year in between visits. Yet another birthday prompted another visit to R Bistro, and we were again highly pleased.
Bread, still crusty and warm. Salad (with spinach, daikon, onions, and fennel) was crisp and tangy, while Chris’s cream of cauliflower soup with caraway seeds was warm, creamy, and smooth (an inspiration for our own attempts at home).
Chris ordered breakfast fopr dinner (huevor rancheros with awesome tortillas) and dinner for dessert (rice pudding with cream saunce) and was very pleased, but Emily totally won on this one. Although it’s hard for her to order coq au vin (just because she hates saying it), the mushroms and pearl onions would have been enough by themselves, they were just. that. good. Add chicken piences that don’t require a knife to eat because they were falling off the bone and some flatbread grilled with olive oil, and she was a happy diner.
Dessert, too, topped off the evening. Cranberry ice cream cake with chocolate crust and a frozen whipped cream and pistachio topping was delicious, and the coffee (what part of it Emily’ didn’t spill on the table) was a little better than previously. Perhaps they shouldn’t grind it so finely if it’s going to be served in a French press (and therefor avoid the dregs at the bottom of the cup).
Again, though, we loved our evening and it was romantic while bustling, private while public, and delicious while creative, labor-intensive, and delicious. The only bad thing is that by the time you read this, the menu will have totally new delicious options to choose from. Have fun!