The contemporary atmosphere and eclectic cuisine at Bistro Etc. place an emphasis on the etcetera in the title of this intimate, upscale, yet casual dining experience just over the Queens border in Port Washington.
The warm, dim lighting provide a comfortable environment that has vintage décor including old photos of John F. Kennedy and Jerry Lee Lewis adorned on the wall.
But, the main attraction of any restaurant is the menu and Chef Karen Melanie ensures that diners are treated to a variety of menu choices that pull from cuisines across the globe.
Chef Karen refers to her menu as New American, since it blends cooking techniques and flavors from France, Mexico, Argentina, Asia and more.
The wine and bar menu follows that trend by offering cocktails, wine and a selection of craft beer to pair with the concise starter and entrée options.
This evening, Chef Karen served my dining partner and I vastly different starters that piqued our interest and pleased our taste buds more and more as each plate was placed in front of us.
The Denver lamb ribs were cured in mint and garlic and perfectly cooked. The tender meat slid off the bone and matched perfectly with the two dipping sauces on the plate: honey lemon black pepper and jalapeno mint. Another great starter was the shrimp tortilla, which featured ancho chile rubbed shrimp with a housemade corn tortilla, avocado crema and fresh tomato salsa. The ancho chile rub was subtle, but gave a nice pinch of spice that blended with brilliantly with the creamy avocado and salsa.
The most impressive entree we were treated to this evening was the wild striped bass fillet, which was presented artfully on a tower of wilted spinach, roasted grape tomatoes and a crisp risotto cake as the base. The star of the dish was the bass, rightfully so, as Chef Karen merely topped it with some fresh lemon to allow the natural flavor of the fish to accentuate the entrée.
Another great choice for the main course is the skirt steak, which was cooked to a perfect medium rare and topped with an Argentinean chimicurri sauce that packed a powerful punch that brought the steak to life. On the side was a warm potato salad mixed with bacon, hard-boiled egg and celery that paired brilliantly with the protein.
Just when we thought we could not find any more room in our stomachs, a warm apple strudel with dried cranberries and a scoop of vanilla gelato appeared in front of us and our stomachs magically grew to fit in the crispy, flaky warm dessert that was the perfect end to our trip into Port Washington.
– Jordan Gibbons