Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bistro 112, Shepherdstown

Wednesday dawned grey, gloomy, and threatening rain, rain that visited us intermittently throughout the day, not a great day for outdoor activities, so we needed to find something to do indoors. Why not lunch at a fun little bistro?

Because we needed to take Charlie Dog to the groomer at noon to help us find the dog under his shaggy winter coat, we decided to have lunch while we were out. And because the groomer is on the north side of town, I thought we might as well keep heading north and try a place in Shepherdstown. Customers have been telling me that since new management took over the old Stone Soup Bistro and renamed it Bistro 112, things have much improved.

We started with cocktails. Ann had a "martini" made of Absolut Citron, grapefruit juice, and ginger syrup, pretty tasty, but they needed to strain the ginger residue from the syrup. I had a caipirinha that was supercharged with cachaça. Woo hoo! Here's Ann with her martini. The cat water bottle was a pretty cool touch.

The lunch menu is fairly limited but decent enough for a bistro. Ann chose a croque-monsieur and I opted for a burger, because when do I ever get a burger? We both got fries and they were outstanding. I've got to say that while a croque-monsieur is a pretty free form sandwich, Ann's was not so attractive, an open-faced pile of goo. I'm sure it tasted fine, but it looked unappealing.

My burger was OK, if overcooked. I ordered it from our French waiter in French just to make sure there wouldn't be any translation issues. What I ordered was "bleu à saignant" (really rare to rare, literally, blue to bloody). What I got was medium well. A pity, but then I have come to expect that. All the more the pity because it was local beef from nearby Roxley Farms in Charles Town. Despite being overcooked, the beef was tasty and the bun and garnishes were high quality.

With our lunch, I ordered a bottle of Cline Mourvèdre just to see what this Contra Costa producer does with this typically Southern French varietal. I've had lots of Cline wines over the years, but not the Mourvèdre. The nose was spot on, but on the palate the grapes are a tad overripe and jammy without much acidity. Sounds like Châteauneuf-du-Pape in a lot of vintages, doesn't it? It proved to be a pleasant enough burger wine.

The wine list at Bistro 112 is pretty decent and is perhaps the only wine list outside of a seafood restaurant that I've ever read that features way more white than red wines. No problem there for me, but Ann is a devoted red wine girl. Our wine glasses were a problem though, cheap, thick, and heavy. Note to fellow restaurateurs: buy a few good glasses at least and bring them out when people order a good bottle.

Summary: pleasant service, nice experience, decent wine list, good and not the same old mixed drinks, clumsy stemware, outstanding fries, reasonable food. Worth visiting again.

After chatting with chef Kelly Fitzgerald for a few minutes, we went to the little park overlooking the Potomac with the monument to James Rumsey, who demonstrated the first working steamboat at this location in 1787. It's always peaceful looking at the river from this spot.

Roses, albeit silk, brightened our day and table
Real roses along the street where we parked
I love this rose
Ann was taken with this Lutheran church
Upriver at Rumsey Park
Downriver at Rumsey Park
I figured out how to use the timer on the camera!

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