Restaurant Review: Avec Bistro

>> Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Summer is just around the corner in Calgary and every year it officially kicks off with our annual Stampede celebration. It’s a time when the whole city comes alive with daily events and celebrations. Every year it brings a large amount of tourism to the city and not coincidentally, you’ll notice new restaurants popping up around the same time, clamoring for the stampede crowds. Off the top of my head I can think of at least four new restaurants in various stages of completion, so when I heard Avec Bistro was amongst one of the first to open. I thought it would be a good time to see what it has to offer the hungry Calgarians this summer.

Atmosphere: Bright and open dining area with a large bar surrounded by natural wood finishings and many initimate tables.
Price Range: Mid $10s - $20s

Food and Wine: The menu is to the point, focused on simple bistro fare with several appetizer and entrée options. We began with a fresh and light Smoked Salmon Napoleon, which had slices of smoked salmon, bright greens served over a crispy potato pancake and lightly drizzled with a horseradish crème frâiche. I enjoyed the tangy flavours of the crème fraiche combined with the smokiness of the salmon, but would have really like some capers to top everything off. My friend really enjoyed the crispy potato pancake, which really added that nice crunch factor to the dish.


For our mains, we shared both the Bouillabaisse and Pork Chop dishes. The bouillabaisse consisted of a pleasantly spicy tomato saffron broth topped with mussels, shrimp and fish, all served with a couple crispy baguettes. The seafood was nicely cooked, the shrimp juicy and succulent, the mussels fresh and sweet. A nice sharing plate as well.

Next up was the Pork Chop entrée with seared potatoes and topped with an apple and brown butter chutney. The chop was still slightly pink in the middle, which is the way I prefer it, preserving the juices of the pork and preventing it from being dry. Apples and pork are a classic combo and this was no different, the spices and sweetness paired with the chop nicely. My friend really enjoyed the potatoes as well.

We also ordered a side of Frites which came with a spicy aioli and ketchup for dipping. The fries were crispy and salty. I really like the whole creamy mayo and fries thing, but I recommend dipping them in to the bouillabaisse broth if you order it.


Their desserts change on a daily basis and our choices for the evening included a Lemon Tart, Chocolate Ganache Cake or a Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee. We decided on the crème brulee. It was definitely different from others that I’ve had before. It was very rich. I tasted more of the eggy yolk flavour rather than the vanilla. I was satisfied after just a couple bites. The accompanying madelines were a bit tart with bits of pecans throughout. I suggest dipping them in to the crème brulee.

I didn’t get a chance to sample the wine that evening, but I did peruse the list and noticed that the focus was on French wines and bubbles. You can find a few wines from outside that region, but since it is a French restaurant, I found it to be fitting.


My Picks: Pork Chop Entree

Overall: It’s always nice to see more selection within the city, especially in the French aspect. I really enjoy French cuisine so there can never be enough French restaurants in my opinion. It’s nice to see Avec Bistro bring out the simplicity of French cooking to Calgary. Here’s looking for more uncomplicated yet tasty dishes in the future. Not only for the stampede crowds but for all that enjoy effortless food.

Avec Bistro
105 -550 11 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB
(587) 352-0964
Website: http://www.avecbistro.com/
 
Avec Bistro on Urbanspoon

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