BACKGROUND: I had wanted to dine at Bistro de Paris for several years now but for various reasons never made it there. On our family trips (family of 5, sometimes 6 with a friend along), it always seemed too expensive and the food too unusual for our son, who is a very picky eater (even worse than Emily). I would have loved to have dined there on either our anniversary or my birthday trips but we were on the Deluxe Dining Plan, so Bistro de Paris was not an option. So I decided that this trip (sans Dining Plan, only TIW used) would be the perfect time to finally dine at Bistro de Paris. And yes, I found it just a little ironic when I heard that this year Bistro de Paris was added to the list of restaurants who accept the Dining Plan. Oh well, c’est la vie!
So please join us as we have our very first…
Dinner at Bistro de Paris
After returning to our room to change into nicer clothes (as I assured the girls that this was a “swanky” place where everyone would be dressed up ), we returned to Epcot for our 8:00 reservation at Bistro de Paris. There were two parties in front of us waiting to check-in at the podium. As it turned out, neither of them had reservations and were both turned away because the restaurant was completely booked on this evening. They seemed quite surprised by this, and I heard one grumbling that they had never had to have a reservation to dine here before. So I have a feeling that with the Bistro now accepting Dining Plan credits, they are much busier and more often then not will require an advance reservation to dine there.
Once we’d checked in, I found a seat in their small lobby area that has very limited seating, so the girls stood outside. We waited at least 20 minutes before our name was called and then we were led up the winding staircase to the restaurant. The dining room was smaller than I thought it would be and very white… the ceiling & walls were painted white, with white wood trim; white curtains hung from the windows and milk glass chandeliers from the ceiling; and the tables were covered with white tablecloths, napkins, and china. Other than the carpet, only the dark wood chairs, the burgundy-red lampshades and seat cushions, and a few miscellaneous decorations added color to the room. This created a formal, yet welcoming ambience.
I was just a little disappointed when we were not seated at a table by the window. However, I noticed once we were seated that most (if not all) of these tables are for parties of two.
I was quite impresssed with the way they fold their napkins here.
Creative Napkin Art
Not long after we were seated, my daughters pointed out to me that many of the other guests seated around us were still in their park attire…casual shorts, t-shirts, tennis shoes etc. Now I really do believe that the girls enjoyed dressing up a bit (casual dresses and skirts) for our dinners, but they just couldn’t pass up the chance to prove their mother wrong…as I rarely ever am wrong.
Now on to the food, beginning with a picture of their current menu.
Our meal began with french breadsticks and this complimentary amuse broche…
Small Cup of Vichyssoise and French breadstick
The vichyssoise was a creamy potato soap with leeks, onions, and I think I tasted some parmesan cheese. I was expecting it to be cold, but this was served warm. Though I think it looks unappetizing in the picture, mostly due to all the foam on top, I can assure you that it was quite tasty. The breadsticks were also very good, and our bread plates were always quickly replenished by a girl who came around to the tables to serve them from a large bread basket. This was a good thing because each of us ate two or three with our shared appetizer…
French Artisanal Cheeses served with mixed salad – $15.00 (Cheese Plate #4 of the Trip)
(I apologize that some of the cheeses have been partially eaten, but as soon as this was set on our table we began diving into it…totally forgetting to take a picture first. Yes, even after the big Italian lunch and the vichyssoise, we were still that hungry! )
This was technically not listed as an appetizer on the dinner menu but I had remembered that they had a cheese plate listed on their dessert menu. Since none of the appetizers appealed to Emily, I asked if we could have the cheese plate for our first course and it wasn’t a problem. The cheese plate included five cheeses and I thought for sure that I had written them down in my notes from this meal, but no such luck. Unfortunately I will have to rely on my somewhat poor memory…feel free to chime in if I mess this up. Beginning with the soft, white cheese next to the salad and moving clockwise around the plate I think they are: Chèvre (goat cheese), Comté (a French Gruyère-style cheese), Roquefort (bleu cheese, which of course was my favorite), Brie, and the one I’m most uncertain about…Chaumes??? As you can see from the picture, we received no crackers or toasted bagel slices, nor any accompaniments with our cheese other than the salad. This didn’t bother me too much since I liked all of the cheeses by themselves or with the french bread. The girls however weren’t too happy about this and consequently lowered their ratings of the cheese plate to just “Okay”. So even though I rated it as “Very Good”, since it was two against one the cheese plate only received an overall rating of “Okay”.
There was only one thing on the menu that Emily would eat, since she will not eat any kind of seafood, duck, or lamb, and the beef had a mushroom crust (plus she had just had a filet the night before). And so chicken it is…
Chicken Breast stuffed with morels and topped with cream sauce. Served with rice pilaf and spinach.
Now I’m sure she didn’t know what morels were when she ordered this and she didn’t ask me so I just kept still and hoped for the best. Needless to say, I was relieved when she was served her chicken and it was not covered with mushrooms. The icky “m” word was not mentioned during our meal, so I’m assuming that the offending morels were part of the rice pilaf (which I don’t think she touched, since white rice is another thing she doesn’t like ). So with just the chicken breast to eat, she found this entree to be pretty boring and rated it as only “Okay”.
EDIT: After posting this review very late last night, I this morning asked Emily about her rating of this entree. I was surprised to discover that the morels were actually stuffed inside the chicken breast. It seems that she figured this was her own mistake and merely ate around them as best she could. No disgusted face, no whining, absolutely no mention was made of those nasty mushrooms. Ahhhh…my little girl is growing up.
Allison loves seafood and was torn between ordering the scallops and the red snapper. She decided on this…
Red Snapper in potato “scales” with rosemary sauce and served on a bed of baby spinach
Her entrée definitely gets the prize for the most beautiful presentation. The picture is not very good due to the low lighting (and Emily did not want to use the flash on her camera since we had other guests sitting close by), but hopefully you can tell that the potato slices are carefully placed on top of the red snapper in a way that looks like the scales of the fish. Unfortunately this entrée wasn’t quite as good as it looks and she gave it only a “Good” rating. I tasted just a bite of this and would have to say that I prefer the similar entree that is served at Flying Fish, the Potato-Wrapped Red Snapper (plus it is actually $5 cheaper). But I must admit that Bistro’s red snapper is prettier to look at and is probably much more difficult to prepare.
For my entrée, I ordered my first beef of the trip (well, if you don’t count my Le Cellier cheeseburger that is )…
Grilled Beef Tenderloin with mushroom “crust”, Bordelaise sauce, and served with mashed potatoes (in picture below).
I enjoyed this very, very much…probably one of my favorite Disney steaks, second only to the filet at Yachtsman Steakhouse. The beef was cooked perfectly (which for me is medium-well) and was tender and flavorful. And unlike my children, I happen to really like mushrooms, so for me the mushroom crust was like “icing on the cake”. As you can see, the baked mashed potatoes were served in a separate dish (apparently the same one in which they were baked). These were piping hot when served so I had to let them cool for quite awhile before they could be eaten. When I was finally able to take a taste without scorching my mouth, I thought they were very good. And so I would give this beef tenderloin/mashed potato entrée a rating of “Excellent”.
Our dessert order had to be placed at the beginning of our meal, since it required 25 – 30 minutes to bake. As soon as our server mentioned the raspberry soufflé, of course Emily was hooked. She insisted that she wanted one entirely to herself, so Allison and I ordered a second one to share.
Warm raspberry soufflé with a chocolate ganache center and a side dish of raspberry sorbet and fresh raspberries
Emily and I liked this but much preferred the Chocolate Raspberry Molten Cake at bluezoo, which we had rated as “Excellent”. To me the texture of the soufflé seemed a little too wet, so perhaps not baked quite long enough. Consequently, Emily and I both rated this as only “Good”. Allison, who is not a big fan of raspberries and had rated the bluezoo dessert as only “Good”, did not like the soufflé at all and gave it a “Bad” rating. But once again we had two against one, so the raspberry soufflé gets a rating of “Good”.
So overall our rating for this meal was: Good, but nothing special
However, my rating for this meal was: Very Good
As an added bonus, when we left the restaurant at around 10:00 we found that the park was nearly empty. DD2 used this rare opportunity to take a few pictures in France, before we exited the park through the International Gateway and walked back to our “home-away-from-home” at the Boardwalk.
The Empty Streets of Paris
And with that I wish you…Bonsoir mes amis!