Have you ever dreamed of going somewhere where the portions are bigger than expected, and the service better than you imagined it would be? Well, I may have found the place.
South Osborne still benefits from having that “undiscovered” feeling. The restaurants around there are delicious holes-in-the-wall, or flavour explosions, brought to you by very talented chefs.
Bistro 7 1/4 holds its own.
Our experience began as we walked in the door. The hostess wore a trendy, cute get-up, and was quick to acknowledge our arrival. The place was packed, and as we didn’t have a reservation, we sat at the bar. Which was amazing. The bartender was extraordinary. He didn’t just know the exact cocktails we would enjoy, but was thoroughly knowledgeable about the food.
We started with the French 75. Hands-down the best French 75 I’ve ever had. We had heard about the mussels, and the beer-and-cheese option seemed like the obvious choice. When it came we were blown away by the portion size. We were just as impressed by the flavour. The broth was so delicious, we could have drunk it at the end. There was melty cheese all over the massive mussel portion. The MOUNTAIN of sweet potato fries that came along with the mussels was equally impressive. We did not need to have ordered anything else, as the bartender had suggested, but wanted to try at least one other dish.
Were we ever glad we did.
The medium-rare, 72-hour short rib with pommes aligot and chipotle-maple glaze (photo above) was listed as a “small dish.” Again, extraordinary portions. This short rib was tender enough to have braised for 72 hours. How it was still medium rare is beyond me. The sweet, tangy sauce mingled perfectly with the natural saltiness of the meat. It melted in my mouth. I think I heard angels sing. The mashed potato was a fluffy cloud of heaven. Try. This. Dish.
I took a peek in the restaurant, and at first glance, the concept was fun. The chef and his cooks are in the middle, with an open grill set up. There are barstools available where you can watch the magic happen and enjoy your dinner. However, there was a bit of the intimacy missing, that one comes to expect from a boutique restaurant. Perhaps it was too many tables crammed into a small space? The lounge was a bit of the same, my chair was constantly bumped into, due to the rectangular space and the nearby lounge tables. The washrooms were … just avoid them. Unfortunately for us ladies, there are two WC’s, and both for both genders.
Back to booze. The wine list here is diverse in country of origin and price. There is something for everyone.
I mentioned the bartender already, who was wonderful. This is not to sell the team short. Everyone was around to help, everyone had a smiling face, asked us how the meal was going. It’s amazing how apparent it is when staff enjoy their place of work. Even the chef came around, whose name we didn’t catch, as he has his staff address him as “Chef” …
Let’s not forget about dessert. When the food has been this good, it doesn’t matter that you think you might explode. You try it. And finish it. However, the dessert menu changes often, so you’ll just have to go try one for yourself.