Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bistro at the Square

48 Jefferson Square
DeSoto, Mo.

We were looking for one place we’d found a listing for online, but couldn’t find it. Not knowing how old the listing was and considering the volatile nature of the retail food business, we assumed it was now defunct. We were in the general area though of a place we’d tried, liked, and had not revisited in quite a while. So it was settled, Bistro at the Square.
The Place:
Inside a shopping center/hotel ‘Jefferson Square’ just north of DeSoto on Highway 21. The serving area is split between a small dining area, a large banquet room and in between, in the enclosed courtyard, the ‘atrium’. White linen cloths covered the tables, green paper placemats in place, an unlit candle on each table. We were greeted and seated in the empty atrium, the standard dining area held a dozen or so patrons. Ahead of us a middle-age gentleman was setting up racks of amplifiers, mixers, effects boxes and speakers. All the cables ran to another stand, where sat an expensive and rather large electronic keyboard. Live music was certain to ensue this night. Behind the equipment and facing the tables was a banner board boasting ‘Dave Blum.’ I recognized the name from a visit to Taytro’s in Festus, he was to play there once as well. We dine too early for the shows, blame it on the dogs and their peculiar schedule. Someday I’d actually like to hear Dave perform, we seem to frequent the same places.
The menus were delivered, the drinks ordered, Tea, Diet Dr. Pepper, and Pepsi. Why Angel likes Dr. P, I’m not sure, in my mind the only thing worse in this class of soft drink than Dr. Pepper, is Diet Dr. Pepper. But perhaps I shouldn’t worry too much about Angel’s odd choices and likes.
There was a lot to choose from, not too much, nothing odd or fussy, just a simple menu with simple offerings. The appetizers were a little tempting, but also a little pricey.
The Food:
We didn’t take long to pick. I ordered the Catfish Filet and ‘Cowboy Potatoes’ Though I had to ask what they were. Angel went for a heavy breakfast, country fried steak, eggs and hash browns. Adam decided on the Buffalo Chicken sandwich and standard fries. Within moments the bread basket arrived with warm, soft bread along with a basket of condiment-cup butters. Or rather butter-ish condiments. Mostly Country Crock, but one or two actually contained actual butter. Packets of mostly grape and strawberry jelly were also provided.
The bread was soft. In my mind maybe a bit too rubbery, but Adam and Angel didn’t think so. The butter-ish stuff wasn’t hard-frozen, but almost. It took friction and effort to get it to melt.
The man setting up the equipment, perhaps Dave himself, tested the sound with a CD, or IPod, or some other form of music device. Kenny G. swooned through with a saucy, oozing sound. “Bring on the porn music!” Adam called out. How he knows about porn music I have no idea, I mean I’ve only read about it myself. I wouldn’t know porn music if a giggly, blond, cleavage-intense and flirtatious French maid sat in my lap and sang it to me. It may be time for Adam and I to have that little talk.
         The food arrived soon enough. It was everything it was advertised to be. My filet was large, crispy on the outside and tender and moist on the inside. The potatoes were, on first test and taste, delightful. Cowboy fries are nothing more than quarter-inch thick potato slices, pan fried with onions and pepper. Some of the diced onion and/or pepper was burnt, I didn’t mind that though. A few charred ashes among tender chunks gives depth to the flavor.
I reported to the family that I was quite pleased. They applauded that as my personal satisfaction is uppermost on their list of priorities in life. They even offered up opinions on their own choices. “The steak is really good, crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside.” Barked Angel, in her soft, soothing voice.
“The chicken is good.” Adam added. “Crispy on the outside and . . .”  In unison we finished the sentence for him:  “. . . tender on the inside!” He also boastingly showed us the inside of the toasted and buttered bun which in itself was crispy on the outside, etc.
Okay, so we like a certain type of food preparation. I never claimed that we were complicated.
All would have been well had it not been for my sensitivity to that earthen mineral, the only rock fit for human consumption, salt. The potatoes had just a smidgen too much. It was not immediately noticeable but it built up  over time. Once I realized it I stopped eating them, about halfway through.
Except for the saltiness of my potatoes, the meal was exceptional. Simple, well prepared, crispy on the outside. . .
The bill only came to thirty two dollars and change, much better than the sports bars and suburban chains. The atmosphere was quiet, cool and relaxing, the wait staff dressed in crisp white shirts and black pants and aprons were polite, dutiful and timely. The young blonde that waited on us got flustered at first when I accused her if rushing me, but like any good young blond, she soon figured me out for the sorry old fart that I am and started joking back.
On the way home, after a short trip through Orscheln’s, the attached farm and home supply store, we chatted up the Bistro and decided it was now one of our favorite places. So we will go back, and we can highly recommend it. Casual, neat, affordable, simple, yet a little classy. It’s great place for a serious date or business lunch, or just for a nice meal for the whole family, even with the alleged porn music.
Bon Appetit! 

Bistro At The Square on Urbanspoon

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