You want rich and decadent and old school French? Bijou may just be your perfect place. We have been to this place before, and I reviewed it, but we really have wanted to go back and make good on our promise to order all appetizers. I followed through on that promise, but hubby was swayed by a really yummy sounding special.
I really like the interior and feel of this place. It is warm and cozy feeling and all the staff (which as far as I can tell is the chef, the host, and a waiter) is very friendly and accommodating. We chose to sit a regular table on this trip, as we remembered the booths, while nice and private, being a little too vertical for hubby’s back. We were very pleased with the comfy chairs and plenty of room at the tables.
For something new, I started with the mushroom crepe. We discussed the fact that it could easily be drown in a tasteless cream sauce and debated the merits of ordering it. Pleasantly, it was very good and the cream sauce was flavorful with a cheese taste that wasn’t over the top rich and still had depth in flavor. It was one crepe, filled with a finely pureed mushroom mixture. Nice flavor, not too heavy, and the serving size was appropriate for a rich dish. If they put 2 on the plate, I would have thought it was overkill.
Hubby started with the oysters that he had last time—“Oysters Bijou.” These are little toasts with an (cooked) oyster, bacon and a chardonnay cream sauce. He loved them last time, and if anything, he liked them even more this time. They are really good (we shared a bit). Nice small oysters with just the right amount of bacon and sauce that are quickly broiled. And judging by the number of them coming out, we aren’t the only ones who like them.
We shared the spinach salad we had the last time. It was still very good. Simple and fresh with spinach, red onion slices and really nice Roquefort. I could have used a little more of the cheese and a little less of the dressing (a lemon dressing). The dressing was sweet and tangy at the same time, but mine just had a little much of it. And I mentioned the cheese before—it is excellent Roquefort. And we split a salad, and I thought it was perfect for a middle course. Even the full size salad would not be gigantic though, and I thought about the salad I had at Bella Vita that probably had 10 times the amount of spinach in it. Again, the bread, simple French baguettes are delicious and we went through a couple of baskets.
We were given the same intermezzo we were given the last time, a little tiny dish of passion fruit sorbet to cleanse the palate. A great flavor, and a nice touch, and in just the right amount.
For my main course, I had the appetizer I had the last time, the lobster feuilleté. It is pieces of lobster meat, cooked perfectly, with a heart shaped piece of puff pastry on top and surrounded by a Champagne cream sauce. It was still very good, although the saucing may have been a little heavy handed this time. I didn’t need all the rich sauce relative to the amount of other things. In fact, I would have loved a little bit more of the puff pastry to balance everything out. But overall, this is a great dish. Rich and completely decadent, and delicious.
Originally hubby was going to get another appetizer too, because we liked ours so much as I mentioned, but when he heard the special of pan fried turbot stuffed with lobster, shrimp and crab, he changed his mind. Actually, it was when he saw the table next to ours being served the dish that really pushed him over the edge. It was a lovely dish. Turbot, if you aren’t familiar, is a fairly thick white fish, sort of similar to petrale sole. It is mild in flavor and is a great base for doing lots of things to. In this case, the fish was stuffed with creamy bits of the above mentioned shellfish which were all good in their own right, and the fish was then pan fried to give it a perfect crispy outer crust. It was served with polenta and some broccoli, which were ok, but the fish was the real star. We were glad to have gotten an entrée that we really liked. It renewed our hope that we don’t have to only order appetizers here. But the lesson is, pay attention to the specials, and if they sound good, order them. My main complaint about this place (like you have never heard this from me before) is that they don’t seem to change the menu at all. What is on there is good, but I like variety and based on that special, I would love to see what else the chef could come up with.
Since I had only two appetizers and half a salad, I needed dessert right? That’s what I was thinking. And last time I was so full I couldn’t do it. This time I ordered the chocolate pot de crème. It was really good. Rich and dark chocolate-y. I often just think these kind of desserts are just ok because they taste too much just like pudding. But this one was rich and dense and one of the better ones I have had. Also, I liked the way it was served in a small lidded porcelain dish with a little whipped cream on the side (and not on top). It was a lovely presentation (picture was blurry sorry). Which actually brings me to one of the other things I appreciate about this place. The dishware and glassware is all lovely and high quality. I hate thick wine glasses and while normally I don’t even notice the dishes (usually because there is nothing worth noticing), these draw your attention. They are sort of old fashioned, but fit into the French bistro-ish kind of feeling you get here.
All in all, I still think this place is a nice change in our area. Why can’t Indy support a proper French restaurant? And how is Lebanon pulling it off? Anyway, if you haven’t tried it, and you like old school classic rich food, give this one a try. It really doesn’t take that long to get there.
111 West Main Street
Lebanon, IN 46052