Mistral (restaurant review)

Hiya! Sorry for a short break. I had this well researched post on whether eating locally is ethical (hint: the answer is not as simple as you may think) and ecto deleted it so it kind of shook me. I wanted nothing to do with my computer for a little while. I think I’m ready to sell my Mac. Anyone in the market for one? 😉

Despite spending minimal time on the computer for the past few days, you may have guessed that I did spend some time eating. In fact, I’ve been eating quite well (read: deliciously) and so I decided to start my recaps with last night’s dinner at Mistral. Ms. Bianca of Confessions of a Chocoholic organized a little dinner for a few local bloggers – in attendance: Bianca, I, Daisy, Megan and Meghan. :) This was my first time meeting Bianca and I was so happy to get to know her (and see the rest of my blog friends) in the beautiful setting of Mistral. This French restaurant is owned by the same group as Mooo, L’Andana, Sorellina and Teatro.  I’ve been to all but the latter. In fact I’ve even been to Mistral and while my food was perfectly cooked, most dishes had onions which did negatively impact my first experience there (a lot of key components are pre-cooked so they couldn’t change them). I can’t turn down a date with my blog friends so I was willing to give Mistral another chance and I’m really glad I did. We attacked the menu a little differently this time so I think this had a lot to do with it (btw, I hate saying anything negative about the restaurant because of onions because it’s a very personal preference and a very common ingredient – I understand that. With that said, I have eaten at a lot of restaurants and found that they were generally more accommodating in that department. Last night was better so enough on that topic. Let’s look at some food pictures!!!) 😀

Upon being seated we were immediately served this gorgeous loaf of bread with butter and garlic hummus. I dominated the hummus – it was fantastic!! I ate 2 (large) pieces of bread just to be able to scoop more of that stuff. Mmm, such a good start :)

We decided to maximize our tasting experience at Mistral and focused on the appetizer side of the menu. The waiter told us about some of his favorites and we added a few others that just sounded too good to be missed. The first 2 dishes came complements of the restaurant (Bianca previously informed them that we were all food bloggers).

Beef Tenderloin, Mashed Potato & White Truffle Oil

Our waiter was very aware of my severe dislike of onions so one half the pizza had caramelized onions and the other half was onion-free. :) I really enjoyed mashed potatoes and truffle oil on pizza (I picked off the meat because while the beef was grass-fed, it was corn finished and I preferred to leave it off). The crust was fantastic though – very thin but still with a bit of chew. Delicious first course overall.

Sushi Grade Tuna Tartare with Crispy Wontons, Ginger & Soy

This is one of their “famous” appetizers (in fact, I’m pretty sure that 99% of the reason why Bianca is in love with Mistral is because of their tuna tartare). Unfortunately this was one of these dishes that I just couldn’t fully enjoy because of onions (or scallions, can’t remember) in the sauce. I tried it – it wasn’t totally overwhelming but I just would rather eat something else. With that said, the tuna was extremely fresh and the dish was quite flavorful. I’d recommend it to any tuna tartare lover that doesn’t have my limitations (hey, at least I tried it! Baby steps :) ).

The rest of the food came out at the same time. It was quite overwhelming and definitely a miss on the kitchen’s part since that’s all we ordered. Our table had no free space and dishes were getting cold while we tackled one at a time. Lucky for them, the flavor still made up for it! :mrgreen:

White Cheese, Whipped Ricotta, Hot Pepper, Sea Salt & Arugula pizza

The hot peppers were raw which added quite a bit of heat to this pizza. I love heat and all of the components of the pizza so I really enjoyed this. It was one of my favorite dishes of the night.

White Alba & Black Burgundy Truffle Macaroni with Madeira & Parmesan

This is not your grandma’s mac & cheese (you know, if you grandma made mac&cheese that is 😉 ) See the stuff on top? That’s shaved truffles. Yup. This appetizer is $48 – not cheap but we decided to splurge on it since we were splitting the bill 5-ways :) I’m sure the truffles added a nice earthiness to this dish but what truly stood out the most for me was the madeira sauce. This mac & cheese was sweet! I enjoyed my two bites but would never want to spend nearly $50 for this. But hey, we all have different budgets and I say go for it if you want something a little different and have the dough to spend on it (expense account, anyone? 😆 ).

Maine Crab Ravioli with Rock Crab, Thyme & Tomato Broth

Forgettable.

Seared Foie Gras with Confit of Duck in Brioche, Wisconsin Dried Cherry Gastrique

This is not a dish I’d normally order (foie gras is not exactly an ethical choice) but I did have a tiny bite. I had to. What looks like bone marrow is actually a brioche “cup” stuffed with duck confit – this combo was just melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The foie gras was so buttery and really perfectly seared. And then there is the cherry/thyme sauce. Need I say more? I am Obsessed with cherries (yes, I just used a capital “O”) – not quite L’Espalier’s duck & cherry truffled lasagna but close. If only I didn’t have this nagging voice inside my head shaming me for eating this I would have gladly polished it off (you know, after giving the girls their tiny bites? 😉 ).

Brussels sprouts with pancetta

This was one of the side dishes that we ordered (sorry it’s not on their online menu so I don’t know the exact name) and was hands down the most flavorful, most craveable dish of the night. The brussels sprouts were just so perfectly cooked in this great slightly sour yet deep flavored sauce (from the pancetta fat?). Oh my. This was parked next to me and I made sure to leave none of it to the trash gods. Yeah, I guarantee I will be back to Mistral for this dish… and dessert for good measure. Is that would you’d call balance? (Work with me here 😀 )

Desserts were all complements of the restaurant as well and I’m so glad we got to taste four of their offerings.

Warm Chocolate Torte, Vanilla Ice Cream, Sauce Anglaise

Yesssss. That’s kind of all I have. I know this dish is “overdone” but I don’t care. It’s delicious and I hope every restaurant keeps or adds it to their menu. I promise to order it every time. :)

Chocolate mousse, housemade graham cracker crust and marshmallow

This is a new addition to Mistral’s dessert menu and was hands down my favorite dessert (yes I was shocked too because well the dessert above is my go-to and was fantastic). The mousse was just so cool, rich and creamy and the graham cracker was buttery and unique. The marshmallow just added a fun twist/theme to the dessert and while I liked it, I’d be happy without it too. Make it a regular, Mistral, k?

Warm Huckleberry Tart with Meyer Lemon & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Have you ever had huckleberries? They tasted like blueberries to us. This was a nice little tart (the crust was fabulous) but well, it had chocolate for competition. ‘Nuff said.

Vanilla Creme Brulee, Raspberry, Sugar Cookie

Solid.

I really enjoyed tasting so many dishes. In fact, going to high end restaurants and eating from their appetizer menu is my and Adam’s favorite thing recently. Often these dishes are a little more unique and are always less pricey (so you get more bang for your buck). I say I’d want to come back and do this all over again with the same exact strategy. The space is modern yet warm, the staff is knowledgeable and helpful and there is good talent in the kitchen. Thanks Bianca for organizing a fun dinner out (you picked a good crowd too 😉 )!

Just for fun: What dish would you want to jump off the screen and appear in front of you right now? 😎

***

For other restaurant reviews, check out my Restaurant Reviews page.

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