Bistro Byronz has been a go-to Mid City dining destination for nearly a decade, and the recent opening of a second location in the Willow Grove Development on Perkins Road seems destined for the same kind of popularity. The restaurant is bustling, and the much-loved menu is the same.
Why mess with success?
The ambiance is similar to the Government street location — a casual, French country eatery well-suited to lunch with friends or a date night. The larger dining areas in the front are surrounded by smaller rooms that help control the noise level. The service is top notch. Our waiter was friendly, polite and attentive without interrupting the flow of conversation in our group.
Most importantly, the food was just as good as you’ve come to expect.
We started with the bleu cheese chips ($4.95 for a small plate), which I like to think of as very fancy and delicious nachos. The thick, home-fried chips come covered with a creamy dressing and are dotted with blue cheese crumbles and green onion. It’s a wonderful combination.
We also tried the blackened shrimp salad ($13.95), which has mandarin orange segments, bacon, avocado, feta and an orange rosemary vinaigrette. I sometimes have a problem with blackened shrimp because the seafood can be easily overwhelmed by the strong spices, but this dish was evenly spiced and well done. The oranges were a sweet contrast to the salty bacon and feta.
We also ordered the cassoulet ($10.95), a rustic French dish of white beans stewed with tasso ham, duck and chicken sausage. It was tasty, but a bit on the salty side. I love pork as much as the next girl, but the many pieces of fat scattered throughout were unappetizing. However, all the meats were delicious, including the lighter chicken and deeply rich duck.
The Bistro Bomber ($7.95 for the smaller sandwich) is a fairly standard roast beef sandwich with provolone, caramelized onions and a horseradish sauce. All the elements worked well together, but it was a little dry. Perhaps more of the horseradish sauce on the side would have helped and given it a bit of an extra kick. Even some au jus would have helped. The pasta salad we got on the side also was serviceable, but nothing too special.
I don’t know what is Creole about the pot roast Creole ($11.95), but it was delicious nonetheless. The meat was tender and falling apart, but still had a little bit of a bite to it. It was perfectly complimented by mashed potatoes and a carrot souffle.
And, y’all, this carrot souffle.
I’m not a huge fan of cooked carrots or sweet potatoes, often finding them too sugary, but this little ramekin converted me. The first flavor you get is a little sweetness, and then the taste of the vegetable comes through with a syrupy molasses flavor to follow. It’s like having a dessert that somehow works perfectly with your meal.
I’m a believer.
Obviously, I’ll be back for more carrot souffle, but one thing I appreciate about Bistro Byronz is how different the menu is from many other local restaurants. It’s a spot I’ll visit when I’m want something just a little out of the ordinary.