Bistro Merlot – Delicous – but such a terrible location…

Bistro Merlot 1The Bistro Merlot was recommended to me at the hairdressers – how’s that for a place to find new restaurants to try! But the gal was sure it was delicious, even if she wasn’t quite sure where it was – so I figured – I live on the West Island – a nice restaurant would be a wonderful find.

So we decided to check it out. We used our GPS to find the phone number – and called ahead to be sure they were open. Good thing – I’d have been seriously annoyed if I’d driven all the way out to their location and they were closed. (NB: It’s only open for Dinner – but then it is open every day. But I’d still recommend a call ahead – 1-514-620-2225)

They are way West of St. Charles and north of the Trans Canada Highway – in a completely residential neighborhood. Just in front is a gas station, and next door is a Dep. Just finding the front door was a challenge – I watched other guests walk the length of the tiny strip mall trying to find the front door. But it’s not for lack of trying – the Bistro does have a flashing OPEN sign next to the door – it just doesn’t have that – ‘I’m the entrance to a restaurant’ feel to it.

Clearly – I’m not a fan of where they have set up shop, but moving on and inside – let’s talk interior. This is quite lovely, nicely set tables, and open kitchen concept with 2 chef’s at the ready – and apparently they have listened to other reviewers and turned off the TV. It is so inappropriate at a restaurant as lovely as this one. But they really ought to go the next step and ditch the paper napkins. Nothing says low scale like cheap paper napkins. That said – it could be awhile – there was an open cupboard behind one of the tables, and a glance inside (the inside was visible from the entire dining room) showed stacks and stacks of cheap paper napkins. Oh well.

I couldn’t believe how varied the menu was. Upscale Pizza’s (most featuring goat cheese), Italian classics like Linguini Bella or Penne Mendocino, some yummy sounding burger creations like Brie and Prosciutto, Jambalaya (from New Orleans?),  and to round out the confusion,  Asian dishes like Thai Stir-fry and Korean Rice Bowl. I’m guessing that to make up for the location, they are working hard to give people a reason to come back. And it would work. I opted for the Pizza this time – maybe next time I’ll be in the mood for Szechuan or Korean.Bistro Merlot 2

My pizza, by the way – was huge and delicious – and beautiful. I loved the balsamic criss-cross. And it was awesomely good the next day re-heated. My partner had the Jalapeno and Bacon Soup in the Pastry Dome. It was quite yummy.

Will I go back – probably not. It’s not that the food isn’t good – it is. It’s not the price – they are very competitive – it’s the location. And it’s a very strange location. Definitely worth one trip – but maybe not worth another.

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