n Claude Postel met Callie Bienvenu, sparks flew. They met through a mutual friend Bienvenu was staying with after moving from Austin, Texas, a few years ago (her roots are Cajun). Postel had a boat and offered her a ride, telling her he was a famous four-star chef from Montreal. Unimpressed, she later looked him up online and voilà! He was a well-known chef, originally from Chartres, France, where he began culinary school in Paris at 15.
n they were working at a South Beach restaurant where Postel was the chef and she was a waitress who became the manager. After dating briefly, they married three years ago. When they recently moved from the Beach to Buena Vista East so their big dog could have a back yard, they were frustrated by the lack of neighborhood places to get a good meal. Then a spot became available and they bought it, redid the décor, and opened four months ago as Buena Vista Bistro, offering reasonably priced fare with a French flair.
rue bistro is a small, intimate restaurant, traditionally a mom-and-pop place with mom covering the front of the house and pop at the stove. Bistros have a casual, relaxed ambience and unpretentious food served with inexpensive wine. This is just what youll find at Buena Vista Bistro, although it is BYOB until it gets a beer and wine license.
he small space is done up in black and cream. One wall is hung with Bienvenu's framed photos of houses in the neighborhood and autographs of famous people who ate at restaurants in Canada where Postel was chef.
Postel shops every morning and plans the menu accordingly, so it changes every day, with offerings written on a large chalkboard. Most days there are escargot à la Provencale (with tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil), roast salmon with ratatouille and thick rice pudding.
Another constant is rillette du Mans, pâté-like potted pork, a specialty of Le Mans, a city in Northeast France near Normandy. The name means "planks, " referring to the mixture spread on a slice of bread. To make it, pork shoulder is cooked in fat with salt over low heat until tender enough to rake into shreds. The shreds are blended with warm cooking fat to form a rustic paste, served here chilled and packed into small crocks with French bread, cornichons (pickled gherkins) and Dijon mustard.
To cater to the neighborhood Rastafarians, there is usually vegetable lasagna or another vegetable entrée and salads. The love of the owners is expressed in the food and the faith in nurturing a neighborhood through a kitchen that turns out a mean chocolate soufflé to cap off a meal here.
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