Bastille Brasserie & Bar, https://www.bastillerestaurant.com, 606 N Fayette St., is always a favorite throughout the year. As usual, Chefs Christophe and Michelle Poteaux did not disappoint. We started our meal with a choice of appetizers. The Foie Gras Terrine, made with five-spice cured foie gras terrine, house chutney, and pan d’epices is always a treat. The terrine was full flavored, smooth, and creamy. Accompanied by lightly vinegar sweet chutney and a fruit and nut bread, each bite was a delight. The beignets de crevettes of rock shrimp topped with guacamole, lime, and cilantro are another favorite. Tender and full of shrimp – the flavors meld into a wonderful bite.
The entrée choices posed a real problem. The offerings included salmon, sea scallops, and mussels among the seafood selections. There was roasted pork loin, duck breast, chicken, risotto, and steak frites. The salmon filet was accompanied by roasted corn and oregano risotto and a fresh tomato-chile jus. The salmon was perfection. Perfectly cooked with a lovely crust, the salmon fulfilled its promise of flavor and pleasure. Sea scallops with ratatouille vegetables are textbook. The ratatouille was a combination of roasted eggplant, zucchini, and peppers while the dish was dressed with a tomato concassée and basil coulis. Scallops are a delicate muscle which can go from raw to throw-it-away in a split second. These were awesome. They sat on top of the ratatouille like a king on a throne.
My favorite, the Moullard duck breast, was served with a Jerez vinegar and honey gastrique, roasted peaches, Swiss chard, and creamy stone-ground grits. No disappointments here. The duck was cooked to a perfect medium rare and wonderfully well-seasoned. Once you taste them, you know that summer peaches were meant to be grilled. Each bite was a combination of wonderfulness. Vegetarians are in for a treat with the roasted corn and oregano risotto. Made with Arborio risotto, corn broth, grilled corn, and fresh oregano and a garnish of a parmesan crisp – it’s fabulous. The rice is tender and moist with just the lightest bite. This kitchen produces a risotto that rises to a level of delectability that few attain.
A meal is not complete until you have dessert created by Chef Michelle Poteaux. The profiterole classique made with choux pastries, are filled with house made vanilla bean ice cream and topped Valrhona chocolate fudge. The large portion is oh so good. As if the profiteroles weren’t enough, we faced down the Valrhona chocolate royale. The truffle cake was served with salted caramel and toasted hazelnuts with a quenelle of Valrhona chocolate ice cream. What sounded like a chocolate bomb was an explosion of flavor and pleasure. Each tender bite of cake with the caramel and ice cream was sheer happiness. For non-chocolate lovers (they do exist), the crème caramel made with vanilla bean custard and topped with a blueberry compote and pistachios was a picture-perfect bite of joy. The flavors were the ideal finish to a most enjoyable meal.
The Bastille is a lovely gem in the north end of Old Town. The noise level allows for conversation. The bar offers a well-curated list of moderately priced wines and there is a wide selection of beers on tap or by the bottle. The two dining rooms and bar offer a comfortable place for lunch, dinner, or just a midafternoon snack. Why not stop by some time.
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