|eco cafe/canal st. bistro, 3903 canal st. 70119|
Our plan on Saturday night was to head down to the Bywater to see our friend Fatma at Fatoush for some of that local, grass fed, delicious lamb they serve but our friend Phil called with a plea to join him at Canal Street Bistro/Eco Cafe (I'm still not really sure what the dual name is about...). We've been twice before for breakfast and lunch, but this was our first go at dinner since Chef Guillermo Peters began serving on weekend nights. Both of our previous experiences were excellent; great, fresh, creative food at good prices in a pretty comfy spot on Canal Street not far from our house. So we decided to meet Phil, a regular at the place, and see if deserved all of the hype he'd been giving it.
First off, I do really like the atmosphere in the place, comfortable, laid back, casual, but elegant with white tablecloths and nice lighting. We came in jeans, but there were groups of people more appropriately dressed for a Saturday night out and neither of us looked out of place. So we like the vibe, we're fans of the chef, we've had two good experiences previously, needless to say we were pretty excited about what the evening would bring, but...we got off to a bad start when we asked about the price of a corkage fee for the one bottle of wine we had brought. We were told by the host that Chef Guillermo personally chooses the wines on the list to accompany his food and does not allow guests to bring their own wines...period, end of discussion...ugh! Ok, so I look at the list (the wine list online is not current) to see what Chef feels is worthy of his culinary efforts and I see the word Estancia multiple times accompanied by the words chardonnay, merlot, cabernet, pinot noir...there were at least 6-7 different Estancia wines on the list accompanied by a few other California wines and a few Spanish wines. And even though the Spanish wines were decent, I was so turned off by the response to my corkage question and the makeup of the majority of the list that chef was so convinced matched the quality of his food, I couldn't even order any wine. So we reluctantly decided on cocktails and the satsuma margaritas were nice and priced well at $7.50.
|grilled cotija cheese|
Kerry and I ordered the petite chipotle steak $18, that was a petite filet, grilled and served over an open faced quesadilla, topped with chipotle tomato sauce and queso fresco. The rare meat was fabulously cooked to perfection and would have been an excellent match for the 2007 Cuvelier Coleccion Malbec blend from Argentina that was in my wine bag. Though delicious and cut it-with-a-fork tender, it was a bit overwhelmed by the sauce and the quesadilla underneath got soggy, giving the dish a bit of doughy finish.
|petite chipotle steak|
So overall impressions: good, creative food but a little on the pricey side for the portion size; nice, cozy comfortable atmosphere with attentive service but a disappointing sub par wine list that doesn't anywhere near live up to quality of his food. And the attitude about not being able to bring a bottle for a corkage fee? I'm not sure we'll be back for dinner, but lunch and breakfast rate high on our list.