Charlotte Bistro

 

A sassy little French flirt opens in the Gables.

Charlotte Bistro
Photo by Jipsy.
 

Victoria Pesce Elliott

Charlotte Bistro is a sassy little flirt. From the moment you catch a glimpse inside the tight-fitting magenta dining room on Miracle Mile where swirly mirrors and framed prints compete for attention, you know this girl has got ambition. And her name is Charlotte? No, no. The chef-owner is Venezuelan-born Elida Villarroel, who staged at Michelin-starred eateries in France after studying at L’Institute Paul Bocuse in Lyon. She and partner Fidel Rotondaro owned an underground restaurant in Caracas, where they cooked for those in the know.

What Worked

  • Vegetable tart with delicate egg custard and buttery crust
  • A sprightly dab of ceviche
  • Restrained French onion soup with a deeply infused onion broth, a few rough-cut croutons and a smattering of richly satisfying Emmental cheese
  • Pristine pheasant terrine wrapped in bacon and served with butter-cardamom pear slices and toasty pistachios
  • Plump chicken breast over a red bell pepper coulis
  • Grouper served over a celery root puree
  • Gorgeously crusted rack of lamb with loads of thyme and rosemary
  • Insanely decadent, multitextured chocolate soup dotted with espresso-tinged ice cream and a ribbon of buttery cookie for dunking
  • Reasonably priced French & South American wine list

What Didn’t Work

  • A too-sweet sliver of soy-glazed tuna
  • Jumbo langoustine cooked until mealy and chewy
  • Expertly seasoned but stone-cold roasted eggplant starter with blistered black skin
  • Overcooked Maine lobster ravioli in an overly salty broth

 

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