Restaurant Review: Bistro La Bon // Cozy + Hip

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{ Exterior of Bistro La Bon – Image from Yelp }

Valentine’s Day was a couple of weeks ago (on a Friday) and the hubs and I wanted to celebrate it on Saturday night due to a. our schedules and b. to make an honest effort to avoid the insane foot traffic that restaurants would be receiving. Originally, we had wanted to make a reservation at The Melting Pot as it is one of our favorite restaurants to dine at for special occasions. Sean and I are both advocates of supporting local businesses, but it is still hands down one of our most beloved eateries – food chain or not (we literally salivate at the thought of the Mojo cooking oil – it’s really that incredible). But to our disappointment, The Melting Pot was all booked up…le sigh.

Sean wanted our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple to be special and we had both heard rave reviews about Bistro la Bon in Plaza Midwood. Being that we’re moving to that side of town soon and hearing how fantastic this place was – we needed to see firsthand what all the fuss was about. {Side note: please forgive some of these images not being my own – it was incredibly dark both inside and out and impossible for me to get good shots. }

Bistro la Bon is located on Central Avenue and resides in the same strip mall as Family Dollar and Elizabeth Billiards. Although this may seem odd to some, it really encompasses the Plaza Midwood area quite well in the sense that there is always more than what meets the eye. If you are familiar with this neighborhood in Charlotte, NC, you are probably aware of how funky and eclectic it is. For this restaurant to be placed here may be random, but then again, so is Plaza Midwood (which is what makes it so special).

We were fortunate enough to secure an 8:45 reservation for Saturday night. Now, let’s not get it twisted – Valentine’s Day is not just a day…it’s really more of a week-long celebration (so much for trying to be original by celebrating the day after). We walked into the restaurant and the first thing I noticed was the ambiance. From a lighting perspective, it was very dark inside – however, it was still incredibly lively, upbeat and boisterous. It had a hip, Portland, Oregon vibe with a casual yet sleek bar area surrounded by high top tables. The lobby area had velour couches with rich, gem-colored pillows for guests to sit on while they waited on their table. Once we were informed that there would be an additional wait tacked onto our reservation time, we decided to hit the bar for a couple of beverages. Sean ordered a craft beer (his fav) while I had one of Bistro la Bon’s signature cocktail – The Persophone (channeling my inner Greek goddess). It was prosecco, pomegranate liqueur and fresh lemon zest. I must say – it was delicious. Truthfully, I wanted to try all of the hand crafted cocktails on the menu because they all looked divine – it was difficult to choose just one. (At dinner I ended up having A Bee’s Vice and it was probably my favorite drink of the two).

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{ Interior of Bistro La Bon – Image from Yelp }

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{ Dining Area of Bistro La Bon – Image from Yelp }

We only waited an additional 15 minutes or so and were able to be seated. The menu mostly consisted of small plates or “tapas” and it looked amazing. There were also a few entrees and appetizers but the hubs and I wanted to get a few things to share. We decided on the Crispy Avocado and Asparagus, Brie Brulee, Grilled Spanish Octopus and the Lavender Chicken. We asked our server to choose the fifth small plate and to surprise us – we wanted whatever she recommended. Typically, Sean and I ask our servers what they like on the menu because who else would have better insight than the person working at that restaurant? I remember my days in the food industry (what seemed like eons ago) – we would typically sample almost everything on the menu to ensure that we were knowledgeable when a customer asked questions or our opinion on an item. Sean and I are both very adventurous when it comes to food so we were not at all fearful of what our server was going to choose for us. She ended up sending over the Crab Stuffed Peppadew with greens and lemon foam.

The Crispy Avocado and Asparagus was delicious – it was wrapped together in a light batter and then fried like a spring roll and served with a tangy sweet and sour sauce – NOMS. Both the asparagus and avocado worked together in perfect harmony – I would highly recommend this dish. The Brie Brulee was heaven – it literally tasted like a savory version of creme brulee (caramelized topping and all) and it was served with thin, crispy toast slices. The Lavender Chicken definitely had some prominent floral notes but it was balanced excellently with the chestnut gravy, savory cabbage and bits of bacon. If you are not one to like any remnants of floral undertones in your cuisine, this is not the dish for you. Although the lavender was not extraordinarily pungent, it is still present. I truly believe that you are either into that kind of thing or not – I personally love when flowers are mixed with cooking. We also really enjoyed the stuffed Peppadew peppers that our server chose for us – they had a delicate crabcake-esque filling and between that and the peppers – it was a sweet and spicy combination that worked very well together. There was only one dish I was a little disappointed about it and it was actually the one that I was the most excited to try – the octopus. It had nice flavor, however, it just was not as tasty as I wanted it to be. I think what really disappointed me the most about this dish was how chewy it was. If you have had and enjoy octopus, it has an elastic texture if not cooked properly which makes it difficult to chew and just not very enjoyable.

{ Crispy Avocado & Asaparagus }

I would say overall our experience was pleasant and enjoyable. We loved the rustic yet hip and cozy feel of this restaurant. I think many would assume that almost any restaurant in the Plaza Midwood area has to be a find and it most cases with this theory in mind, I’ve hardly ever been disappointed. On a side note – I would love to revisit Bistro la Bon for a Sunday brunch because I have heard nothing but excellent reviews. If you have not yet visited this adorable eatery – go…go now. It is a great place to dine with a group of friends or your significant other. Great drinks, delicious food, warm and trendy atmosphere and in a fun and eclectic side of town.

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