Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bistro Michel - Oakland Grand Lake

Heya, Adventurers!  This is J.K.'s friend Beth, back in the States and home to the Bay.  I had just had a birthday, so later in the week my friend and neighbor Kathy took me out to dinner and a movie, as we do every year.

There is a new restaurant on Lakeshore in the Grand Lake over here in Oakland.  It's a French bistro and pastis bar called Bistro Michel, and it's become wildly popular for brunch.  We were doing dinner however, and barely got in without a reservation (Kathy wasn't sure when she'd get off work).

Apparently they have three different Pastis/Pernod liquors, and it was Pastis in my Sazerac.  Kathy had a kind of lemon drop:  vodka, vanilla, lemon and mint.  Both were tasty.

Kathy had a hanger steak that was a lovely and decent sized piece of meat.  She found it tasty, but a little less hot than she'd hoped.  That was because you can't cook a hanger steak to medium well, which she would have preferred.

I had an interesting dish:  rabbit cassoulet with house-made sausage.  In addition to its containing rabbit rather than a duck leg and confit, it was nontraditional in other ways.  There were some greens on top, and skinny carrots and parsnips sticking out of it.  It was much heavier on the meat than the beans.

That is indeed a burlap bag of bread; it arrived with a garlic butter-olive tapenade thingy.

The cassoulet ... to die for.  I can't describe the flavors and I don't know what the soft grain-type topping was, but it was as thoroughly delicious as a birthday entree should be.  The rabbit was tender enough to flake with a fork.  The sausage chunks were a little chewier, in a good way.

And apparently they don't want to scare anybody off by stating on the menu that they're horse meat, but the waitress mentioned that when I raved about the dish.  It's a Provencal thing, don't worry about understanding.

I'm going back for brunch, and will definitely have the cassoulet again.

It's possible to hang at the bar and have bar bites, too.

Bistro Michel is toward the Mandana end of Lakeshore, about three storefronts past the ever-reliable Spettro.  3343 Lakeshore, near Trestle Glen but across the street from that.

Sho 'nuff boss chow, y'all!