The term “farm-to-table” cooking is brought to life in the eclectic cuisine at Bistro 72, thanks to Executive Chef James Junk. From produce to protein, Chef Junk uses the freshest local ingredients to inspire his menu. Chef Junk even has plans to start his own kitchen garden (in wine barrels donated by local wineries) so he can handpick choice ingredients daily.
Chef Junk started our meal with an amuse-bouche (translation: mouth amuser) and I knew we were in for a spectacular foodie experience. It was a salad of cannellini beans with celery, tomato, onion and rosemary in tangy vinaigrette. Fresh, local, delicious—a great way to introduce his farm-to-table style. Set atop the salad was something new for this foodie to discover—popcorn sprouts! Grown from popcorn kernels, these sprouts are surprisingly sweet and crunchy, and not only make a great edible garnish, they are packed with vitamins and nutrients—what a great find!
By the way, I have to note Bistro 72’s breadbasket because it contains black olive rolls, which are my favorite. They’re served with cute little butterballs, alongside a fresh tomato salsa and balsamic vinegar and oil. Not your typical breadbasket, but it works well, considering Bistro 72 is not your typical hotel restaurant.
The five-onion French onion soup was divine. Having tasted many a French onion soup, I can tell you with confidence this was the tastiest version to ever pass my lips. The onions are sautéed until sweet and moist and the broth was perfectly seasoned. Topped with a Gruyère cheese crouton, this French onion soup cannot be beat.
The shrimp cocktail boasted four plump jumbo shrimp and a homemade Bombay Sapphire Gin infused cocktail sauce, proclaimed as “really freaking good” by my husband. The sesame-encrusted calamari was light and crispy, presented with a trio of dipping sauces to tantalize the taste buds—a sweet chili sauce (my favorite), an Asian hoisin sauce and a slightly spicy peanut sauce.
The star of the show was the beet salad. As Chef Junk laid the plate in front of me, my eyes grew wide and I licked my lips in anticipation. The tower of sliced beets topped with greens was mesmerizing; half golden yellow, the other half deep red and both equally inviting. Hidden in the center was the most decadent goat cheese mousse I’ve ever had the honor of eating. A pomegranate reduction was drizzled around the plate, sprinkled with toasted pistachios. The marriage of all of these flavors took me to foodie nirvana—the tender beets with the creamy mousse, the sweetness of the pomegranate reduction and the crunch from the pistachio…you must try this salad!
For dinner the hubs chose the filet mignon, served with spinach and creamed potatoes topped with candied bacon—I love the little details Chef Junk puts into his presentations. We were treated to succulent Atlantic scallops, seared perfectly on each side and served with a smooth, delicious green onion beurre blanc. The dish that had me at hello was the sweet potato gnocchi, served with a honey caramelized garlic sauce, herbed chicken and a pumpkin pesto. Besides being on the heavy side, this dish was incredibly warm and comforting.
If you can imagine, we still had some room left for dessert, and who could pass up delicious chocolate cake or crème brûlée with fresh berries? I know we couldn’t! The chocolate cake had about five layers of dark chocolate deliciousness, and the crème brûlée was smooth, creamy and charred just right on top.
The Hotel Indigo underwent a massive renovation and has been open for about two years now. Chef Junk took over in the kitchen of Bistro 72 last September. The décor is bold and eclectic, with local touches like images of driftwood from the beaches and wine barrels from local wineries.
For Valentine’s Day, join Bistro 72 with live music by Cassandra House, a complimentary glass of Sparkling Pointe champagne and your choice of the $35 Steak Prix Fixe menu or a $49 Surf & Turf/Filet Mignon Chef’s special.
For more information, visit indigoeastend.com or call 631-369-3325.