La Bastide Bistro (January Restaurant Week)

When McFarlane Promotions contacted me for a sneak peak dinner at La Bastide Bistro for January’s Restaurant Week,  I was really excited. La Bastide Bistro specializes in “Family Country French” and their Restaurant Week menu can be found here. But also check out the regular menu on their website. Last night was the first time at La Bastide Bistro for us and I have to say it’s a hidden gem! The restaurant is tucked away in a strip mall in Scripps Ranch in a mostly residential area.

La Bastide Bistro’s front entrance.

When we walked up, I half expected to hear “La Vie en Rose” playing in the background (a classic love song). There is a cozy outside dining area but I wanted to sit inside. Megan, who was our server for the evening, sat us at a special table situated with a small lamp.

The atmosphere was intimate, warm and cozy without feeling claustrophobic. It felt like what I would invision a bastide would be like somewhere in France perhaps. Here’s a shot of the other side of the dining room. The bar area is behind the shelf unit (not sure what those things are called). Speaking of bar, La Bastide offers a full bar (awesome!) and they offer happy hour with discounts on the “Small Bites” menu.

Megan was very nice and provided us with all the menus available and answered any questions we had. Megan mentioned that the restaurant has been there for about 6 years. Six years we’ve been missing out and why am I just hearing about this place? The Mister started off with his usual cocktail (had to mention this again since it was a gold star with the Mister) and we started to look through all the offerings. I took pictures of all the menu pages but I wanted to point out just a few since the complete menu is on their website. First one is the wine list. Sorry the picture is not the clearest but I wanted to point out the descriptions next to each wine. It was very cool, especially for someone like me who isn’t familar with all the various wines.

The other menus I wanted to point out are the specials.  Gilles Fougeres, the owner, stopped by our table to introduce himself and we chatted for quite a while. Gilles was very personable and we really got the sense that he loves doing what he does. He pointed out the fresh lobster special on Wednesday nights which has been very popular. I’m not surprised at all since the price is only $15.99. Gilles also mentioned that all the ingredients they use are fresh, never frozen.

They offer daily specials, such as the one for Thursday. Megan mentioned that they used to only serve crepes for lunch but due to customer requests, they are now offering it during dinner, too.

Soon after we placed our drink order, a basket of warm baguette and cold butter was brought to our table. I love it when the bread is still warm.

Since our dinner was a sneak peak at the offerings for Restaurant Week, that’s the menu we ordered from. La Bastide Bistro is offering a 3-course meal for $30. They are also offering a couple of other items for an additional cost since Gilles wanted to provide more options to his guests. I liked that. Most of the items offered were also available from the main dinner menu but sometimes they offer seasonal dishes like the Cassoulet with Duck Confit, Toulouse Sausage & Bacon in a White Beans Broth. I actually had my eye on the cassoulet but Megan mentioned that they didn’t have it for that evening, but it was okay since there were a couple of other dishes that I wanted to try.

The Mister decided to start with the Crab Cake Served on Spinach with Orange Reduction Sauce. He loves his crab cakes and he loved this appetizer!

I got to try a bit of it (he’s much better about sharing than I am) and it was so good. I loved the orange reduction sauce and the combination with the baby spinach was nice. I decided to start my meal with the Foie-Gras au Torchon on Toast with Brandied Cherries (additional $6).

This was a nice version of the dish and I especially liked the greens on the side to help cut the fat from the foie-grass. And just look at all those branded cherries! I couldn’t eat them all. This is certainly worth the additional $6.

The Mister chose the Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Pommes Dauphine, Ratatouille And Lamb Au Jus (additional $8). In the first picture, you can see the coquette with the ratatouille, the au jus and the pomme dauphine (fried mash potato puffs).

Here’s a better shot of the rack of lamb.

Okay, first off, this is a ridiculously amount of food for $38. That’s a 6-bone rack of lamb cooked to a perfect medium rare. The crust on the outside was delicious and was wonderful with or without the au jus. We thought this was may even be enough to share although I’m not sure how eager I would be to share those pomme dauphine. I could have eaten a whole plate of those! The rack of lamb on the regular dinner menu is $29, btw. So for $8 more during Restaurant Week, you get an appetizer and dessert!

I chose the Fisherman’s Stew with Mussels, Shrimp, Fish and Potatoes, in a Saffron Lobster Broth with a Rouille Crouton.

The saffron sauce was really good and all the seafood was cooked just right. The fish, maybe it was halibut, was so flaky and delicious. Of course I used the crouton to mop up some of that sauce.

By this time, we were both starting to get full but weren’t going to pass up on dessert. You see, there was chocolate mousse and profiteroles on the menu! You know what a sucker I am for chocolate mousse. I wanted the Mister to get the profiteroles since I know he loves that kind of stuff. Let’s start with the Profiteroles with Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce.

These were so good that even the Mister made a couple of yummy noises (so unlike him). Don’t let the sizes of these delicate bites fool you. We couldn’t finish everything between the two of us. And I had my own Chocolate Mousse with Orange Madeleine to finish.

This was very good but again, I was only able to eat about half of this yummy goodness because I was so stuffed. The orange mandaleine was still warm and was nice to have along with the creamy mousse. Can you see all those vanilla seeds in the whip cream?

Obviously we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. Yes, the meal was free but we would have gladly paid the whole bill for this meal. As a matter of fact, we are planning on going back soon to sample the small bites and so I can get duck confit! All the servers were very nice and attentive, not just to us but to all the tables. During our dinner, I noticed that Gilles stopped by every table to chat with everyone and to make sure everything was to everyone’s satisfaction. Definitely someone who cares about his guests. Certainly no surprise at the reviews it gets on certain sites.

I hope I covered everything. So if you’re looking for a nice place to try for Restaurant Week, this is a definite two-thumbs up from us. And if you like French cuisine, then this should be a no brainer. Maybe I’ll even see you there!

La Bastide Bistro
10006 Scripps Ranch Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92131
858-577-0033
Regular hours of operations: Monday to Saturday 11am – 10pm
Happy Hours: Mon – 4 pm until closing, Tues-Sat 4-6 pm

Special Opening at 5 pm Sunday, January 16 for Restaurant Week Event
Restaurant Week Menu offered for two weeks until Saturday, January 29th

La Bastide Bistro on Urbanspoon

8 Comments

  1. That looks like a great meal! We keep meaning to try La Bastide, but when we’re thinking of places to go to dinner, we never remember it. I definitely want to go for Wednesday Lobster night!! (And I love when the bread is served warm, too.)

  2. I work not too far from here and I’ve been planning on going here for lunch sometime but I just keep forgetting about it. It looks liked it was a good meal though, I’m a sucker for lamb and that mousse looks amazing! I second the “I love warm bread” line!

  3. That does seem like a great deal for $38! I’ve poked my head in this place once and it was just too crowded. The Profiteroles look ridiculously good. Have you tried Cavaillon in RSF? If you have, how does it compare (it’s the most recent French restaurant I’ve tried so that’s my comparison basis right now).

    The Lobster deal on Wed seems really great – do you think they’ll still offer that during Restaurant week?

    Wonderful post – that’s awesome how the Promotions company treated you :)

    • Thanks Faye! We think $38 is a great deal too for rack of lamb 3-course meal. We’re hoping to get back there before their restaurant week menu ends to order it again. The profiteroles were really good, light and crispy. I am pretty sure they are offering the Wednesday lobster deal during Restaurant Week. You could always just give them a ring to make sure but I’m pretty sure they are. You might want to get there early since Gilles mentioned they are usually pretty packed on that night.

      I have not tried Cavaillon but I’ve seen it many times when I’m in that mall. I’ve been wanting to try their brunch but just haven’t gotten around to it. I think Cavaillon’s menu may be a little more sophisticated than the one at La Bastide Bistro. Gilles said that his menu focuses on “home style” type dishes. But of course I’m just talking out of my ear since I have yet to dine at Cavaillon. And guess what? Cavaillon is participating in Restaurant Week. Okay, now we’ll have to go soon. :-)

  4. We have gone shopping at the Vons next door early in the morning and always promise we will come back or try to shop at a different hour and haven’t. Now we definitely will make an effort…let’s call it a resolution. Ooh, monthly resolutions. The photos are beautiful. I’m hungry!

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