Gallery Bistro

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Last Friday was the Friday Night Art Walk downtown.  My wife and I have talked about going for a long time now and we finally made it.  Being Art Walk night we decided that the “Gallery” Bistro would a fitting dining destination.  Joining us was Kelly and his friends Darrin and Katie.   Kelly has been talking up the Gallery Bistro ever since I told him about how we liked Flame. 

We arrived without reservations about 5:30 (Kelly, we should have called) and after a bit of discussion amongst the staff – they found us a table for 5 that we could have until 7pm – which was plenty of time.

Looking at the menus – it appears that there is something here for everyone’s tastes with selections of the standard beef, chicken and fish along with lamb, pork and duck.  The cuisine is what I like to call “Fancy Eat’n” with each dish having special sauces (e.g. bourbon fig compote or tarragon demi-glace) or sides with ingredients you don’t get at home like cumin steamed broccoli or seared apple and walnut cous cous.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking this here “Fancy Eat’n” – I rather like something different than what you get at Applebee’s and Logans.

Our drink orders were taken quickly and a small loaf of white bread was delivered to our table.  We wanted to get to the Art Walk so we skipped ordering appetizers and we went right for entrées. 

I decided on the Pacific Halibut ($22.95) which comes with saffron rice pilaf, cumin spiced broccoli and topped with a citrus scallop ceviche.  My wife ordered the Hazelnut Tilapia ($15.95) which ordinarily would come with a wild rice pilaf – but she substituted the buttered spaghetti squash for her side.

My halibut was an excellent choice – it was a nice big piece of fish – firm and meaty.  The fish was simply pan seared which made the flavor of the fish the main element of the dish.  The ceviche topping was good – small bay scallops with bits of onion and some red peppers along with the sauce.  The scallops were particularly good – but except for a couple of them – I did not taste any of the citrus used in the mix – there were two of the scallops that did have the sauce infused through them and they were the best tasting of the lot.  (Note – I only know what ceviche is by watching the TV show Top Chef). 

I also liked the broccoli – being flavored with cumin made it taste like something you would get at an Indian food place.  The rice was ok.

My wife liked her Tilapia – I had a taste and liked it as well.  Unlike the Halibut – the Tilapia got most of its flavor from the Hazelnut crust and the citrus butter sauce – but then Tilapia is a very mild fish and needs something to help it out.   My wife also really liked her squash – shredded and slightly sweet, which made for a tasty side dish.

Hopefully the Kelly, Darrin and Katie will comment on their selections.

Service was very good tonight – we saw the manager several times and our servers were attentive.  I was impressed with the knowledge our server had of the menu and specials for the night.  Our special requests were no problem.  My diet coke was refilled often – usually before I emptied the glass.

The space occupied by the Gallery Bistro is typical of other downtown restaurants in that it has a fairly narrow but deep dining room with tall ceilings.  This makes for a somewhat loud environment – but it helped a lot that the tables were not crammed up against each other like at some other downtown places (think Bijan’s).  We were able to carry on our conversations easily.  The art on the walls and in the nooks and crannies are the focal point of the décor.  There are many rather large canvases on the walls which certainly reinforces the “Gallery” theme.

Overall, we enjoyed our dinner at the Gallery Bistro – the food was very good, service was excellent.  It also helped that the prices are a tiny bit lower than some of the other “Fancy Eat’n” places downtown.

Oh, and the Art Walk was fun afterwards too!

221 E Walnut St – (417) 866-0555

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