As I Like It!

The Warehouse Bistro

THE WAREHOUSE BISTRO

OPELIKA, ALABAMA

We arrived at the Warehouse Bistro just after dark, and Clista looked a little apprehensive as we wended our way among the darkened warehouses and manufacturing plants. When we pulled into the brightly lit and mostly full parking lot, she breathed a sigh of relief. Our table was waiting and a smiling young lady made sure we were settled in, leaving us to study the extensive wine list and menu.

There are certain aspects of the Bistro that I really like that are totally unrelated to the food and service. The ambience is candlelit and warm and fuzzy. The music is tastefully chosen and muted to allow quiet conversation. The music is also of the 1940s and ’50s which appeals to people of a certain age. Pretty pleasant surroundings.

A very knowledgeable young woman introduced herself as our server for the evening and deftly went over the evening’s specials. After suggesting a very nice pinot noir for Clista and an equally nice Diet Coke for me, she left to bring our drinks and give us ample time to study the menu. The Bistro does not attempt to offer every known entrée, but settles on a half-dozen or so under each heading. Limited choices, but with a promise of skillful preparation and presentation.

We chose to share a duck liver pate and this proved to be an excellent choice. The pate was creamy and flavorful and ample for two diners. Clista chose a salad for her second course and was rewarded with a large mixture of every leafy green plant from arugula to Johnson grass. I am an iceberg lettuce kind of guy and I believe a healthy dose of Roundup should be applied to the other invasive species that have taken over our salad bowls. Needless to say I did not order a salad, but chose the French onion soup instead.

Clista’s salad was healthy. My soup was divine. As most of you know, I like a brothy soup and this example was perfectly textured and wickedly seasoned. Just the right amount of melted cheese and small pieces of crouton.

We both chose the grouper with crabmeat and hollandaise sauce. Clista had hers grilled and I chose the blackened version. Both came covered with a generous serving of lump crabmeat on top. I had asked for the hollandaise to be served on the side. My experience has been that most restaurants have no idea how to make a decent hollandaise. Most examples are some made-easy shortcut and generally are just vile. The Bistro’s chef either had returned to the double boiler of classical French cooking or had found the Holy Grail of easy-made hollandaise. It was a perfect, creamy, buttery delight, with no sign of curdling.

The evening was capped off by sharing an evil chocolate torte and two cups of good dark roast coffee. All in all, a perfect Valentine’s meal and, oh, by the way, very fairly valued.

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Categories: As I Like It!, Restaurants

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