Last week, Adam and I went to one of the Bib Gourmand restaurants, Bistro 110. It is right off Michigan Avenue, thus a convenient dinner spot after I got my hair cut in the 900 N Michigan building. We made a reservation for 7:00 but in true Nelson Lilly fashion, we arrived early at 6:30:)
My first impression was that the place was "cute enough". I'm really picky about ambiance- just ask Adam. I liked the dark wood and table settings, but the lighting was way too bright and the tables way too close together. So, a 'C' for ambiance.
On to the drinks. There was a decent wine list and since I'm trying to drink more French wines, what better place than at a French bistro? So, I had 2 glasses of the Bordeaux, Château Thilede-Grillon, Bordeaux Supérieur. Good, not great. But only $7 a glass so I wasn't expecting it to rock my world.
The dinner menu had lots of good options. For an appetizer, we got the Artichoke Baked w/ Brie, which the menu proudly proclaims is their "signature appetizer since 1987". It was good- of course it was! But probably not worth the caloric splurge. I'm starting to realize that Brie is best appreciated when it's NOT baked. Good brie is damn good on it's own, it doesn't require bells and whistles like being stuffed in artichoke. If you go, I'd get something different- maybe the French Onion soup- the lady next to us looked like she was enjoying hers!
For dinner, Adam and I split the Cassoulet. It was quite good. Duck leg and lamb both cooked perfectly. I don't always like lamb (unless it's fresh, for example in New Zealand), but theirs must be relatively fresh because it was good without that funny smoky lamby flavor that I don't like. The ragout of white beans (seasoned w/ thyme, rosemary and tomatoes) was excellent--> probably the best part of the meal. The Cassoulet is a good size for splitting.
For side dishes, we choose the wood roasted mushrooms and the fresh green beans. The mushrooms were a bit salty. Unless I'm eating french fries or potato chips I don't want to taste salt in my food and I did. Green beans were green beans. Nothing special.
For dessert, we went the cliche route and had creme brulee, or more specifically, the
La Fameuse Crème Brûlée du Bistro 110. It was great. I heart creme brulee.
All in all, I'd say the place was average. Not sure I would have given it a Bib Gourmand, but they didn't ask me;) I think if you want a great restaurant in the Mag Mile area, I would refer you to Pane Caldo instead. And if you want to eat your way through the Bib Gourmand list I'd say start w/ Perennial instead. But if Bistro 110 is convenient, feel free to stop in. It's good, just not great.
I'm becoming one picky restaurant critic! But you want the truth, don't you??