We stopped by Barnum Publick House with a group of our writer friends to try out some of their signature cocktails and their appetizers, then we worked our way down the block to the newly opened Bistro B.
We tried the Clock Strikes Rum which was light and fruity blend of silver, dark, and coconut rum with fresh fruit punch and the So Clutch containing cucumber vodka, dry vermouth, and pickle juice. I think of it as a double dirty classic martini.
For appetizers we had Short Rib Nachos which was short rib meat with jalapenos, tomato, cheese sauce, and sour cream over house potato chips. A unique play on your typically nachos, tasty. Lump Crab Cakes with warm corn, relish, and lemon tartar sauce. These must have been good, because they were all gone when I went to try them. Lastly, was Stonington Calamari lightly battered in a spicy flour and deep fried to a pale golden brown and served with a sweet chili sauce.
Both the Barnum Publick House and Bistro B are owned by restaurateur / real estate developer Steve Montello, known for his part in the creation of Stamford’s burgeoning dining and entertainment scene throughout the 1990s and well into the mid-2000s. With attention now on Bridgeport, he opened Barnum Publick House last year and Bistro B, American Bistro & Wine Bar this past September.
“I’ve seen the city grow into a bonafide destination for work and play, “says Montello, “and I wanted to be a part of it. We’re adding to our Bridgeport restaurant group and are seeing more restaurateurs take an interest in this city.”
Both Executive Chef Jason Milanese and Chef de Cuisine Joseph Italiano have worked with and for Steve Montello at Saltwater Grille in Stamford in the past. They all have renewed their collaboration at these new restaurants.
Bistro B is a combination of brasserie and part American Tavern offering a relaxing, but stylish atmosphere. Their French focused wine list includes Alsatian varietals, Bordeaux and Cotes du Rhone, as well as a few added global offerings from elsewhere. Their from-scratch menu is defined by “Plates”; small, green, daily, large and table, providing a diverse options of cuisine. Bistro B is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm. It’s the perfect play to stop in after work for a glass of wine and some appetizer or stay on for dinner.
1006 Broad Street
For “Small Plates” you might choose:
House cured salmon with Star Anise pickles, horseradish mustard creme, and brown bread. Bistro B house cures the salmon in a brine of salt and sugar for five days. I found it a little too salty for my palate when eating the salmon alone, but it balanced out when eaten on the brown bread with the pickles and creme.
BLT Sliders were braised pork belly with Roma tomato, iceberg lettuce, and maple aioli on a small bun. The slice of pork belly was super thick. It was just the right amount of fat with a little crispness to the edge. The maple aioli cut through the richness of the pork belly.
Chicken “Lollipops” were chicken thigh meat scrapped down on the bone to make a “lollopop” with house made BBO glaze and Best Blue cheese dressing. Those were tender with just a touch of BBQ sauce.
If you are looking for a smooth wine, we highly suggest The Pepper Pot. It’s evenly smooth, not bitter, and pairs well with most of the food served by Bistro B. Pepper Pot wine is made by Edgebaston in South Africa.
Our resident wine connoisseur, Anatoli of Talk-a-Vino fame, selected a white and red wine to accompany our dishes. The red was Carmen Gran Reserva from Chile, a petite Syrah with dark fruit and peppery tones. The white was Mohua Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, a medium dry white wine with predominant grapefruit and citrus tones.
Another wine we tried was the Pieropan Soave 2011. This is the youngest wine in the Pieropan family. It is made entirely from fruit grown in their own vineyards situated in the Soave Classico zone and planted only with indigenous grape varieties.
From the “Garden Plates” were treated to Lamb Lettuce Salad. This salad was made of very young greens with crispy artichokes resting on a bed of roasted garlic hummus. The “Lamb” referring to the youth of the lettuce and what a lamb would enjoy with regards to greens. The greens were super sweet. The light crunch of the roasted artichokes added a nice texture difference.
We had a tasting of many of their popular menu items and here is what you will find if you order these popular choices.
Potato & Onion Encrusted Halibut with Forest mushrooms ragout, asparagus tips, and truffle was first. Upon arrival, one caught the aroma of the mushrooms and truffle. They at times overpowered the mild halibut. The halibut was perfectly cooked with a nice crispy crust of the potato and onion. The mushrooms had a great earthy, beefy flavor.
For pork sampling, we had Pork Schnitzel, a lightly crusted, thin fillet of pork with a mustard honey pan roast sauce accompanied by a cucumber salad. The pork was not lost in the crusting which added some crunch to the schnitzel. The pan roast sauce added moisture to the pork, but I missed the honey. The cucumber was light and refreshing.
Arriving as a “table plate” was “Chicken Fried Chicken.” A crispy Amish chicken breast with black pepper gravy over mashed potatoes and spiced baby carrots. The chicken was coated with just enough breading to give it an excellent crispness followed by moist chicken meat. The mashed potatoes were just as I like them, creamy but a little lumpy. The subtle spice on the carrots let the natural sweetness of them shine through.
We had Roasted Hangar Steak with pomme fries, green beans and roasted pears. The hangar steak was cooked to a juicy and tender medium rare. The steak was well seasoned, maybe a tad less sea salt would have made it perfect. I would have preferred the fries to be a bit more crispy, but they were good. The green beans were lightly sauteed while retaining their “snap.”
For the “Sweet Plates”, more accurately, a single plate containing for small portions of different desserts, there was Butterscotch Pudding with a fabulous fresh whipped cream, and fresh baked almond cookie, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and Flourless Chocolate Cake. The cake reminded me of a slightly dense brownie, full of chocolate flavor.
Another enjoyable evening of well prepared and delicious food, accompanied by fine wine and excellent service. All in the company of friends.