Tuesday, April 14, 2009
My sister and I have been meaning to try this place out for a while due to all its amazing reviews on Yelp, so we hopped in the car with Lauren yesterday at 6 and headed to downtown Long Beach. I'm happy to report that Bouchees Bistro is only open for lunch on Mondays.
I'm not going to lie. OK? Is there some leeway I get for being forthright? I can't believe I'm admitting this. We ended up eating at Hometown Buffet that night.
I could make all these excuses about how it was right next to the meter which we'd just poured all our change into to park. About how the door was open and throngs of happy laughing people were headed inside too, and how the irresistible aroma of fried chicken wafted out through the windows thrown open to let a soft breeze curl in. But I really don't have a good reason. It's enough that we went, and ate, and left.
Anyway, I felt determined to rectify the bad, bad decisions of the last 24 hours. There was no choir rehearsal tonight (even though our concert's on Sunday) so I insisted Kim and I go back today to eat. You know, to the bistro. Not the other place.
We made it in time for happy hour (Tuesday-Friday, 4pm-7pm), so my sister got the slider trio for $9, with an extra $.50 charge for a combo of sweet potato fries in addition to the parmesan herb fries.
Left to right: Ahi tuna and avocado, turkey and shiitake mushroom, and American beef with cheddar cheese
The tuna was good but I found the sauce a little watery and uneventful. The turkey slider was juicy and hot, the mushrooms flavorful. I didn't try the beef, but my sister deemed the tuna the best.
I ordered the regular (read: full) -sized Ahi tuna and avocado burger for $11, which comes with a "spicy chili garlic sauce." When I asked what that might entail I heard the word "mayonnaise" somewhere in there and requested mine with Dijon mustard instead. During happy hour regular burgers come with a side of fries thrown in for free (generally $4), so I ordered the sweet potato/parmesan combo as well.
The burger was excellent: browned on the outside but still nicely tender and pink in the middle. I thought the mustard gave it a nice spicy touch that lent itself well to the mild meatiness of the ahi. The poppy-sesame seed buns were soft and a little salty, which was really interesting. I would have liked the tomatoes to have been less mealy, especially considering heirlooms are currently being hauled into farmers' markets by the truckload, but overall an extremely tasty burger.
Sweet potato fries and parmesan herb fries, served with homemade ketchup.
One thing I'm not really used to is actually getting dessert when I go out. Unless I've prepared for it I never have room at the end of my meal, so I was pleasantly surprised that by the time I'd cleaned off my burger and the fries I felt comfortable enough to order their special: a house-baked cookie ice cream sandwich, $4. Today featured a double chocolate cookie with vanilla bean gelato and strawberry coulis.
The cookies were soft and thick, not overwhelmingly sweet, and the gelato was perfectly creamy and dense. I was expecting more of a dark cookie from the description, but no complaints here:
Service was friendly and accommodating, even when a cup of ketchup got dropped nearby. Luckily no one was splatted. I think I saw the chef for a second but didn't have the nerve to talk to him, otherwise I would have told him how enjoyable our meal was. I would definitely go again just for the dessert, which I found satisfying and very well portioned for two. To be honest I could have ordered and eaten a second one, but I'm on a budget here. It's expensive to keep that food baby of my sister's kicking. Trust me, you wouldn't want a shot of that.
515 Long Beach Blvd
Long Beach, CA 90802