Dorian Hargrove 8 p.m., Dec. 11
Wow, I’m so glad that I write about food for the Reader! Otherwise, Saturday night without our daughter could have ended with cereal at 11:00pm. Instead, we actually got dressed up and headed out the door for a 7:45pm reservation at Bistro West. Ah, a Saturday night out…it was busy. The buzz of the crowd and the bustle of the staff felt like we were in a happening spot! The atmosphere of Bistro West is upscale despite being the less expensive of the pair of sibling restaurants- West, which is next door, is about twice the price.
Our server, Ozzy, was the epitome of politeness itself. Since we hadn’t been there before, he told us about the ingredients used in the restaurant: about 70% organic and many of the vegetables and herbs are from the restaurant’s Carlsbad farm. I later found out that the entire restaurant staff works at the farm as well, so that they are really close to the food they’re serving. The menu offers salads, burgers, pastas, pizzas, meat, and seafood options. However, going with the restaurant’s emphasis on garden fresh vegetables, I ordered the Carrot, English Garden Pea Ravioli. ($16.95) Mark chose the Grilled Flat Iron Steak. ($22.95) We also ordered a Caesar salad to split. ($9.95)
The server brought three small sourdough rolls with a small dish of butter. The flavor of the bread was fine, but not enough to make eating the whole roll a must. I appreciated the fact that when our Caesar salad came out, it was divided onto two plates, which allowed us to focus on eating rather than dividing. The salad was lightly dressed with shaved Parmesan. I realized that using shavings of Parmesan on a Caesar allows the flavor to come through much more so than shredding it and made a mental note.
We had enough time to enjoy our salad before our entrees were brought out. Looking at my dish, I couldn’t find the ravioli. Then I realized that the ravioli were the color of carrots and peas. The presentation was lovely and the whole dish felt very light. The scallops were small, but plentiful. The vegetables were cut into small pieces, with the tomatoes being especially juicy. And the pasta was accompanied by the sage butter sauce, rather than drowning in it. It was excellent.
Mark’s steak and mashed potatoes looked appetizing with a rich marinade pooled on the sliced meat. It tasted as good as it looked. I did think the green beans looked over-cooked, but he said no. Before his plate was taken away, I happily scavenged the summer squash he chose not to eat. Unfortunately, the portions were large enough to prevent us from enjoying a dessert. Foiled again!
Bistro West 4960 Avenida Encinas (I-5 & Cannon Road) Carlsbad, CA 92008 (760) 930-8008 http://bistrowest.com/