…Avec Bistro (Calgary)

Overall - 9/10
Food - 9/10
Service - 9/10
Ambiance - 8.5/10
Avec Bistro on Urbanspoon

Before arriving at Avec Bistro, we took a look their dinner menu and saw they offered the standard French bistro fare.  Being that we were fortunate enough to travel to France more than a few times and had many amazing French bistro experiences, we made reservations at Avec Bistro with no expectations either way.  After our meal, we are happy to add Avec Bistro to our growing list of excellent French restaurants in Calgary.  What made Avec Bistro stand out for us was the consistency of balanced flavours, refined presentation and generous portions.

Brekle's Brown- a refreshing dark ale
We started with our appetizers, the duck wings and duck rillette (can you tell we like duck?).  The duck wings had the flavour of buffalo wings- a little sweet, spicy and savoury all at once.  The meat was tender, almost falling off the bone with crisp skin.  With 6-7 wings (duck wings are bigger than chicken wings), these are great for sharing and very addicting.

The duck rillette was served with cassis mustard, cornichon (small pickled gherkins), and toasted baguette slices.  Besides the beautiful presentation, we enjoyed how smooth, creamy and decadent texture of the rillette.  The cassis mustard added a subtle hint of fruitiness that we wished was even more fruity but the cornichons provided a good balance to the richness of the rillette. 

For the mains, we ordered the grilled rack of pork with pomme Lyonnaise and steak frites with béarnaise sauce.  The pork chop was grilled just right with a lightly pink centre and topped with a tomato-bacon vinaigrette. The pomme Lyonnaise was a dish we've had before in Lyon and is essentially a super rich mashed potato (smashed in this case), full of caramelized onion, butter and what we think is a touch of vinegar to cut through the richness. 

The steak frites was unique in that the beef was served pre-cut with a light, béarnaise foam.  Despite ordering the steak cooked to medium, over the recommended medium-rare, the meat was very tender.  The airy béarnaise sauce was a pleasant surprise- a modern take on the heavy, traditional béarnaise.  The fries were cut thin, crisp on the outside and soft in the inside, served with a aioli and ketchup.  We didn't regret ordering the added sautéed mushrooms either.  

We saw the dessert menu ahead of time, so we knew that we were going to indulge in the banana bread pudding with salted caramel ice cream.  There are no words to describe the deliciousness of this dessert.  It was simply the perfect ending to the meal.  And yes, those are little pats of butter on the banana bread.  No one is counting calories here.

Overall, a fantastic experience which we highly recommend.  We regrettably did not have the wine, but we're sure that we'll be back for more very soon.


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