Saturday, December 6, 2008

Nordstrom Café Bistro

Ok, I realize that this is obviously a chain, but it is so yummy, I thought it was worth writing up. It all started back in San Francisco when I got hooked on the Cobb Salad at the Nordstrom there. It was the best place to eat in the mall if you had shopping to do (and had a great kids menu). When we moved here, we ate at the café downtown several times (the café, not the grill) and the menu there was pretty much identical to our old Nordstrom in SF. So when the new Nordstrom opened at the Fashion Mall, I went one day with a friend while we were shopping sort of assuming it would be the same as well. Well this café bistro, is much more bistro-ish and less café-ish. The room is full of comfy booths and while you still order at the register, you are seated by a server. They also serve beer and wine and more entrees and have a kitchen with more capabilities (the other ones don’t appear to have a fryer, etc). And the menu is pretty much completely different I think, although the same basic format—lots of great sounding salads, soups and sandwiches as well as several more entrees. The other thing I really like about Nordstrom cafés in general are the ingredients seem to be very high quality and someone is attempting to put together things beyond what you might find at an average sandwich shop. Now, I am not sure, it is possible that they have changed the menu at all the Nordstroms—and maybe our downtown café has the same new menu items—I haven’t been there in awhile.

Anyway, the first time I went I had the Bistro Club sandwich with chicken, bacon, green beans, avocado, lettuce and garlic aioli—now the sandwich was quite good, but the stand out were the fries that come along side every sandwich (which they never had at the other Nordstrom restaurants I have been to before due to the lack of a full kitchen). They are the thin “pommes frites” style fries heavily seasoned with salt, black pepper and fresh parsley. They were delicious and the olive tapenade/aioli dipping sauce---amazing. I actually think it was the dip that really sold me on the fries--I could pour that stuff on just about anything and really like it.

So a week or two later, we decided to go with the family. Like I said, they have a nice kids’ menu with all the classics and my kids thoroughly enjoyed their hotdogs and fries (less seasoned, but the same fries). The hot dogs were high quality plump dogs that were grilled and not just boiled.

Hubby and I shared the steak sandwich with cheese, arugula, Roma tomatoes, caramelized onions and aioli on Parmesan ciabbata bread. This sandwich was even better than the first one. It was served hot and the meat was very tender and all the ingredients just went so well together. And of course those fries. And that olive dip. Really good.

So the restaurant as I mentioned has a nicer interior than previous Nordstrom cafés I have been to, with warm colors and nice booths, and they are open for dinner as well (and have a breakfast menu in the morning as well). As for dinner, maybe as a convenient place to eat with your kids if you are at the mall, but generally I will keep it on rotation as a lunch place, particularly when I am at the mall anyway—this is a wonderful alternative to the food courts (I really really cannot stand mall food courts, but that’s a whole other story) and hey, you can even have a glass of wine if you want!

Nordstrom Café Bistro
Fashion Mall
8702 Keystone Crossing
Indy 46240

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