A few weeks ago, Helen and I decided to go on an East Bay restaurant journey to Artisan Bistro in Lafayette. We had lunch when it was Gigi and enjoyed the experience. New place – new adventure!
We arrived around noon to a rather sparsely populated restaurant and hoped that this was not a sign of things to come. The décor is contemporary yet warm and inviting with the bright paintings on the wall and the dark hardwood floors. We were seated back by the kitchen, which typically is not a great seat, but for a foodie, this was a great vantage point to the inner workings of the kitchen with the chef and staff.
The food is contemporary California French cuisine that has a freshness and innovative flair. All of the ingredients are seasonal, grown locally and sustainable. Our server was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. Did not “hover” but was there when we needed her. Began with a glass of Groth Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 – which had hints of citrus and melon flavors. The wine had a lush and lingering finish and was perfect with my menu choices.
Speaking of menu selections, we began by sharing the Marinated Beet Salad with herbed goat cheese, toasted walnuts, Fuji apples and dressed with a shallot vinaigrette. The presentation was beautiful and unique. The herbed goat cheese was piped onto the plate and there was a beet infused goat cheese too. Really tasty!
Since we wanted a light lunch, we also shared the Croque-Monsier Sandwich with Gruyere cheese, jambon de Paris with sweet potato fries. The sandwich was tasty but much smaller than I expected. More of a “finger sandwich” that you would have at high tea. The sweet potato fries were delicious, crispy and full of flavor.
We were going to pass on dessert but then our server described the Funnel Cake “State Fair Style” with Bourbon Caramel Sauce and we were sold. It did not disappoint! The sweet, deep fried strips of decadence were to die for! As Rachel Zoe would say – “I die”! Besides the ultra self-indulgence of the Bourbon Caramel Sauce, it came adorned with another dipping sauce of strawberry preserves. This was a dessert that Gigi’s served and when the new owners took over, there was such an out pouring from customers to keep this on the menu, that they did. Hats off to Artisan Bistro for listening - Bravo!
1005 Brown Ave.
Lafayette, CA 94549