Me & my dad at delish French Bistro! Escargot, Duck, Halibut, Chocolate Lava Cake
Bistro Central Parc
I love my parents. My dad took me out for the best fancy birthday dinner! We went to the Bistro Central Parc, a darling upscale French Bistro in NoPa. Since neither of us had been to the Bistro before, and it started with the letter B, it qualifies to fill in for the Alphabet Dining, Letter B restaurant I missed earlier in the year- what a coincidence! :)
Stepping into Bistro Central Parc, a wash of comfort and elegance flows over you. The dorations are subtle and classy, with small white lights and a long white cloth lining the ceiling, and illuminated table setting displays bookending the long restaurant.
Darling illuminated display behind our table
The owner (French himself), greeted us at the door and showed us to our table.
Escargots and Me!
Being that we were dining at a French Bistro, we naturally started off our meal with some classic Hors D'oeuvres. I ordered a plate of mouth-watering Escargots Bourguignon. If you've never had escargots, I highly recommend them. They are prepared in such a way that you forget you are eating snails. They are not slimey or too chewy. At the Bistro, they are seasoned with plenty of garlic and parsley butter, that leaves you wanting 3 more plates! The perfect amount of butter was used - not enough to make them greasy, and combined with the garlic to create an unexpected burst of flavor!
And did I mention how cute the plate itself is? With little beds to perfectly fit each escargot, and tiny three-pronged forks to manage them. So fun!
Wild Mushroom Risotto with Truffle Oil
For his Hor D'oeuvre, my dad ordered the Wild Mushroom Risotto with Truffle Oil. I'm not even a big fan of mushrooms, but this dish was delicious as well. Like an alternate universe, at Bistro Central Parc, I apparently like mushrooms!
Dad & I and our delish entrees! Halibut and Duck
After a little time to digest our hors d'oeuvres, our main entrees arrived. We thought the appetizers were amazing, but they were nothing compared to our main courses!
Poisson Du Jour : Halibut
My dad ordered the Poisson Du Jour, which was Halibut. The presentation of the plate was very balanced and obviously well thought-out. The light, tender fish sat atop a solid, framing base of dark mushrooms and a bed of onions. To offset the yellow color of the Halibut and it's sauce was a sprinkling of healthy green spouts. Aside from the great juxtaposition of colors was the combination of various textures - the tough mushrooms complimenting the fresh fish and the flighty sprouts. It was a pleasure to look at and a healthy choice of ingredients! The only drawback was the surplus of onions in the dish - so many that he couldn't even finish them all. There were at least two kinds, scallions (green onions), shallots, and maybe some white onions as well. They were a nice texture change from the tender halibut, but he probably could have done with less onions.
Magret de Canard : Breast of Duck
For my entree, I ordered the Magret de Canard, or breast of duck. Like the Poisson Du Jour, it came topped with fresh sprouts, and was also sitting on a bed of spinach and potatoes. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this was the best entree I can remember having! Yes, In my entire life!
I've had duck before, and I always enjoy the flavor, but it's usually prepared entirely too greasy, chewy, and generally unhealthily. In contrast, the duck at Bistro Central Parc was anything but greasy, and had a great tender texture. It had all the great taste with none of the drawbacks I was so used to with duck. It was so tender
The kicker in the meal was the sauce. It was dark and surprisingly had a sweet flavor to it. The kind of flavor that leaves you so pleasantly surprised you actually involuntarily stop for a moment to process it. And then you obviously continue to dip every bite of your meal into it! I was sopping it up with my potatoes and even my spinach. But it was made for the duck, and the duck was it's culinary soul mate. The sweet sauce combined with the perfect flavor and texture of the Magret de Canard was enough to recommend this restaurant to anyone and everyone I meet.
I was so full from the meal that I couldn't finish the last couple pieces of duck, but my dad was happy to help me finish them!
Chocolate Lava Cake & Bday Candle!
Somehow the Bistro got wind of the fact it was my birthday, and they go all-out for celebrations! At the end of our meal, they dimmed the lights of the entire restaurant, came out with a mini birthday cake (and an extremely straight candle!), and had the restaurant and patrons sing Happy Birthday for me. It was so cute!
The cake itself was delicious!! It was a chocolate lava cake, which means that when you slice into it a delicious pool of chocolate lava sauce pours out. This chocolate sauce was warm (fitting for lava) and sweet without the overpowering richness that sometimes comes along with chocolate cake. To offset the warm chocolate lava, the cake was topped with a scoop of cool vanilla ice cream and a caramelized saucer of caramel and nuts. To top it all off, a darling mint leaf was positioned atop the vanilla scoop. Fun fact: A bit of mint is good at the end of a meal, as it aids in digestion! As full as we were at this point, we managed to finish this sweet and delicious end to our great meal.
Chocolate Lava BDay Cake, a closer view
To top off everything, at this point the owner himself came over to our table, said "Happy Birthday," and handed me a paper bag. Upon opening the bag, I discovered my very own Bistro Central Parc mug! It even had "San Francisco" printed on it. It was a perfect end to a perfect meal.
If you haven't guessed by now, my father & I had a great experience at Bistro Central Parc. We ate amazing food, had accommodating service from the owner and staff (including taking many pictures for/of us!), and got to dine in the elegant ambiance of the restaurant itself. I still can't believe the owner was so thoughtful as to bring me a birthday present. Talk about going above and beyond.
I would absolutely recommend the Bistro to anyone looking for a venue for a special occasion! My only suggestion would be to book a reservation ahead of time, and perhaps plan a ride home ahead of time as well, since this is what showed up on my screen when we tried to phone a taxi :)
Note: Bistro Central Parc is not really located at the border of the North & South Atlantic Oceans.