McLean, VA’s newest restaurant, Bistro Vivant, just opened and I headed over there recently to check it out. The space where it is located has been the home to 2 other restaurants in the last four years, so I’m really hoping this one survives because there really aren’t enough nice restaurants in this area. The owners of Bistro Vivant are also owners of other restaurants in the DC/MD/VA area, so it appears they know what they are doing.
My friend and I chose a seat outside because it was a gorgeous night and we wanted to enjoy the sunset. Because the restaurant is in a strip mall, it really doesn’t have the best view, but they do a nice job of making the outside restaurant area look like a little bistro in Paris.
Diane and I ordered a bottle of rosé for our meal, of course, since it pretty much goes with everything. This one was Chinon rosé and 100% Cabernet Franc.
Instead of each of us getting an entree we decided to share with a couple of the small plates. The restaurant offers small plates, appetizers, entrees, and à la carte items.
Unfortunately we were a little disappointed in the quality of the dishes we ordered and regretted not ordering an entree. We will definitely need to go back and try the entree’s next time.
We ordered a tomato tart, the steak tartare, and the salmon rillettes.
The tomato tart smelled and looked fantastic, but for some reason lacked flavor.
The steak tartare was made with ketchup, which I’m not too fond of, and didn’t really care for at first, but it grew on me as I was kept eating it. I prefer my steak tartare with onions, capers, and egg yolk, but this wasn’t horrible. I enjoyed it with the green salad as well.
Our last little dish was the salmon rillette. This was interesting as I’ve never really had a salmon rillette. It had the flavor and texture of cooked salmon and was dressed with a creamy herbed sauce that complimented it well. This was nice on the fresh French bread that was served.
At this point we were really hankering for something satisfying and something we knew would be good so we ordered a side of the frites (or fries). And they definitely hit the spot. The fries were crispy and crunchy on the outside with a little salt and some herbs- just how I like them. When in doubt, order the fries and another glass of wine. We ordered a half carafe of Sauvignon Blanc to wash our fries down.
Since we knew one of the owners we were surprised with complimentary dessert. And this I have to say was outstanding. By far the best dish of the entire night.
Fresh peaches from the farmers market in Washington, DC mixed with a little sugar, lemon juice, and mint topped with fresh raspberry sorbet. It was fresh, bursting with flavors of summer, and a refreshing end to our meal. It was served with a small glass of Brachetto, a slightly sparkling, slightly sweet red wine from Italy, and it was an incredible pairing with the peaches and sorbet. We savored every last bite.
The very best way to end this meal…on a high note. The restaurant itself has a really great bistro feel, and I liked the vibe, but I just wish I liked the food a little more. Next time I’ll have to try a traditional bistro entree like steak frites or their bouillabaisse that smelled amazing when served to the table next to me.
None the less, it’s nice to know McLean has a new restaurant, and I’m sure I’ll be back to try some other dishes soon.