Housed in a beautifully renovated building on Mentor Avenue near the famous Ice House Comedy Club is Bistro 45, one of the city’s most elegant dining venues. While the name of the place indicates French cuisine, the menu is more of a blending of Europe’s favorite cuisines with California tastes.
The Bistro 45 menu changes frequently, but even long-time diners tend to be pleased with the evolving selection as the options are always good. Currently, Bistro 45 is focusing on autumnal ingredients. Generally I order fish when dining out, but the changing leaves gives me a hankering for something a little heartier so on my next trip I may consider the Duroc Pork Chop or the Duck Breast. Although the rack of lamb also looks good and lamb seems to be disappearing from menus in general.
Many diners are finicky about wine selections and the knowledgeable staff is very accommodating when it comes to picking the perfect selection, with tastes available without angry looks. Non-wine drinkers will be pleased to spot some curated local beers on tap from as nearby as Eagle Rock and bottled as far away as Europe.
On a previous visit to Bistro 45, there was a private event so my dinner-date and I ate in the bar area. At many restaurants a large party can throw off service for the rest of the establishment, but we found that the bartender was very capable of serving drinks and making sure that our small table had everything we needed, from water to dessert.
The menu at Bistro 45 definitely makes it a “special occasion” destination, but the varied menu and wide assortment of desserts designed for chocolate fiends and the fruit inclined is a nice departure from what seems to be a new trend in ever-smaller dessert menus. So you know where my allegiance is, the Chocolate Soup takes the cake.
If you need a quiet spot for date night or a place to celebrate your anniversary or even throw an elegant birthday party, Bistro45 certainly fits the bill.
Bistro 45 45 S Mentor Ave, Pasadena, CA 91106 (626) 795-2478 http://bistro45.com/
As an interesting P.S. Robert Simon, owner of Bistro 45 was an owner of Cafe Jacoulet, one of the first fine dining spots in Old Pasadena. Our publishers, Dominic and Hem-young deFazio, on their first visit to the Cafe, stopped in after lunch and before dinner, so the restaurant was not prepared to serve. Robert introduced himself, and saw the deFazio’s disappointment that they had missed lunch. He sat them, disappeared into the kitchen and a bit later came back and served what Dominic still says is the greatest omelet they’d ever had. They have been fans of Robert Simon and his restaurants ever since.
photo courtesy of Bistro 45
Slide photo by Paul G at Foursquare