Saturday, February 15, 2014


Valentine's Day.

A day when the love that you share with your significant other throughout the year is exemplified and promoted.  A day when bouquets of flowers are so much more fragrant and boxes of chocolates taste so much sweeter. A day to celebrate true and undying love. Like so many others, Boyfriend and I also celebrated our true love... Our true love of melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon and a lovely restaurant called Bistro 19.

   Photo courtesy of Bistro 19's website

In four years of dating, Boyfriend and I have never really celebrated Valentine's Day. It has always fallen on inconvenient days of the week and we old souls tend to eat at home on school nights.  Since V-Day occurred on Friday this year, Boyfriend and I decided that it was time to celebrate, so we made reservations at Mount Lebanon's Bistro 19.  

We wound up at Bistro 19 for dinner a year ago when our favorite Italian restaurant had an extraordinarily lengthy wait duration for a table and we were too famished to delay.  On our first trip, I ordered the filet mignon with a rosemary demi glaze and Boursin crust.  With my first bite, I closed my eyes, moaned and immediately fell in love with the most tender piece of meat that I'd ever consumed.  After it was gone, I missed it.

This time around, I wanted to try something different.  Our reservation was at 8 p.m. and upon entering the restaurant, the hostess immediately guided us to our table for two.  We were pleased with the readiness of the table, as the restaurant was crowded with couples.  The restaurant is small and tables are close together, but aside from a rather noisy gentleman beside us, neither Boyfriend nor I felt overly confined.  

To start, we ordered an appetizer of lamb meatballs served over a bed of greens, farro salad, and covered in a feta sauce.  While we waited, Boyfriend and I nibbled on some hard Italian bread with a chive butter.  The bread was slightly warm, but not fantastic. I did enjoy the chive butter as a change from standard butter, but Boyfriend prefers it plain and disgustingly plentiful.

Our appetizer arrived just when we were reeling for some real food.  The dish was not at all what we were anticipating, based upon the menu description.  If there was feta involved, I didn't taste it.  The lamb meatballs were of an odd consistency, but not unappetizing.  The farro, a grain similar to risotto, was chewy and different.  I seemed to enjoy the farro more as I continued to eat it, but I became slightly bored of the meatballs.  It was okay, but I would not order it again.

After a seemingly lengthy wait, our entrees were brought to the table.  Boyfriend ordered the beloved filet mignon and just as I remembered, it looked like perfection.  The Boursin crusted cut of heaven was served alongside chive mashed potatoes and green beans. 

Boyfriend's first bite and involuntary moan of "mmmmmmm" was identical to my first bite a year ago.  He loved the tender medium-cooked meat and said that he hardly even required the accompanying steak knife.  Boyfriend also enjoyed the mashed potatoes, but said that the green beans were plain and underwhelming.  He graciously granted me two bites of filet, which I enjoyed more than a normal person should enjoy red meat.

To mix things up, I ordered the rack of lamb with a blackberry demi glaze, chive mashed potatoes and asparagus.  At some point between the appetizer and receiving my entree, I realized that I had no clue how to eat a rack of lamb.  I scolded myself internally for failing to google it before dinner, but decided that it would be completely inappropriate to do so at the dinner table.  I'd have to wing it.

The lamb was cooked medium and was very tender.  The glaze, while not obviously made of blackberry, was a nice subtly fruity contrast to the meat.  It was easy to cut the meat from the rib, since it was so tender and I didn't have to gnaw on the bone like a Valentine heathen.  The mashed potatoes were delicious and we all know that I didn't touch the asparagus.  Boyfriend tried it and said that the asparagus was boring and blandly seasoned.  

After practically licking our plates clean (except vegetables), Boyfriend and I couldn't even think about dessert, but our server brought our bill with two Nutella strawberry cookies, courtesy of the chef for Valentine's Day.  Boyfriend didn't care for his, but mine became a mere memory while waiting for our receipt.  

Bistro 19 did not disappoint for our first celebrated Valentine's Day.  The crowds were handled well, although the service was a bit slow.  Our server was pleasant and my water glass was never less than half-full.  The appetizer and the vegetables were nothing special, but the lamb was great and the filet... Oh, the filet.  The meat made the meal and it's why we will return again to Bistro 19. 

If loving red meat is wrong, I don't want to be right. 

Bistro 19 on Urbanspoon

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