It’s been fun watching Bistro 76 CafÃ© in Perrinville develop into a favorite haunt for many local residents. Their most recent development has been to add a dinner menu, which is served from 5-9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
I’ve enjoyed their breakfast and lunch options (they are open from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday and 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday) so it seemed like a good idea to see what’s for dinner.
They set a nice table, with linen tablecloths, fresh cut flowers and warm jazz in the background.
The dinner menu itself is a clean, sleek, single page but it packs a good punch, with a surprising variety of options. The soft drinks we ordered showed up in funky mason jars minus the straw, which is fine with me. I think I can manage just fine without a straw somehow.
As we waited for an appetizer, our server Hannah treated us to a small skillet of freshly baked peasant bread. It smelled and tasted exquisite — I was reminded of Anthony’s Beach CafÃ©’s bread basket. Herbed and buttery, soft but with lots of texture, we loved it.
Our appetizer arrived with a flourish. Bistro 76 is doing an impressive job with presentation, something I always appreciate. The buns made the sliders especially memorable. Fresh and sweet like brioche, they had a nice melt-in-mouth quality and the lean, house-cured corned beef, coupled with sauerkraut and gruyere, make the sliders Bistro 76’s most popular appetizer.
The entrÃ©es took a little while, but anyone who’s ever made risotto can appreciate the delay. Sea scallops should only have a passing acquaintance with a hot pan —- to overcook a scallop is a crime. Mine were perfect. Again, the presentation was beautiful — The risotto was mild but delicious, with julienned peppers and attractive micro greens heaped on top. I could swear a little saffron made it into the sauce, but it might have been my imagination.
My son’s tortellini was also quite good; rich, buttery and cheesy with generous portions of cured ham served in a smoked red pepper sauce.
If you’re only going to have one dessert option, it doesn’t hurt from my point of view if that option is a double chocolate chip cookie, baked in a skillet, and topped with vanilla ice cream and sliced strawberries. I had mine with coffee.
Having eaten significantly more than I should have (in the interest of journalism, of course) I’m prepared to rate Bistro 76’s new dinner menu a great success. I’m very curious about their peppercorn beef tenderloin medallions, the halibut ceviche and the summer berry salad. It looks as though I’ll be making another trip to Perrinville soon!
Bistro 76 CafÃ© and Catering
18401 76th Ave.
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New ownership at Romeo’s
In the category of established restaurants changing hands, Jason McClure and Erica Jacobs have recently taken ownership of Romeo’s Restaurant and Pizzeria on 76th Avenue (just north of Edmonds-Woodway High School), with their business partner (and owner of the very popular Brier Pizza) Tad Mcmurray.
I’m pretty stoked about this. After all, among his other accomplishments, McClure put in 15 years as executive chef in Seattle at Sazerac in the Hotel Monaco, and a stint as executive chef at Matt‘s in the Market. (An aside — if you haven’t been to Matt’s, you should go)
The idea of taking an ownership role in an established family restaurant attracted his attention. He had worked with Mcmurray on other projects, so it seemed like a good fit.
They’re just getting started with their new enterprise, but some of their thinking seems to be — if it ain’t busted, don’t fix it.
“For the time being, we’re not going to be changing the name or branding. There’s a neighborhood reverence for this place as it is, so we want to keep all the things that a great family restaurant brings to the table.”
McClure pointed out something that hadn’t occurred to me. There’s a strong Greek influence at many of the family pizzerias in South Snohomish county. For example Kebella’s, Sparta’s, Spiro’s, Portofino’s and also Romeo’s all have strong Greek roots. McClure plans to keep some of that. Romeo’s posted a dynamite looking baklava just the other day on Instagram.
But along with staying the course, the new owners are planning to refine their product. They’ve already produced a new streamlined format for their menu and McClure is very sensitive to sourcing seasonally appropriate ingredients. Look for the menu to reflect this philosophy. I think we’ll be seeing some subtle but delicious improvements at Romeo’s in the coming months.
Romeo’s will also have a presence at Taste Edmonds, scheduled for Aug. 10-12 this year. McClure has some delectable plans, which include Crispy Fried Ravioli with Red Sauce, Bay Shrimp & Cannellini Bean Salad with arugula and summer tomatoes, and for dessert, how about a little “hand held house-made” Tiramisu? What better way to announce “there’s a new chef in town!”
Welcome Jason and Erica!
Romeo’s Restaurant and Pizzeria
21110 76th Ave. W.
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Sorbet with a kick
Edmonds resident Steve Kaiser recently unveiled a product that takes a new twist on sorbet. Made from aged, handcrafted hard cider in small batches, Core Hero hard cider sorbet (about 5.5 percent alcohol) is now available at the Lynnwood Whole Foods and will be coming to other local stores soon.
“For two years, I taste-tested various recipes I invented and tried different production methods until I figured out a winning combination,” explained Kaiser, owner of Core Hero Hard Cider. “It’s smooth, not too hard and has a balanced sweetness that’s great by itself, with fruit pies and other dessert combinations.”
Because Kaiser starts with heritage hard cider apples, he says the strong-flavored cider did not need as much sugar as ordinary sorbets. The for-adults-only frozen dessert is fat free, non dairy, naturally gluten free and has one-third less sugar. Instead of conventional sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, it’s sweetened 100 percent with honey.
For more information, visit www.coreherohardcider.com.
– By James Spangler
James Spangler is guest writing the Edmonds Restaurant News column while Kathy Passage takes a break.