We have had so much fun over the past year trying so many exemplary restaurants around the country. We have incredibly detailed memories of very specific bites of extraordinary food. But we really don’t have to go too far to enjoy a top quality restaurant with a chef that can certainly hold his own, and even surpass some of the places we’ve visited in the largest cities in the country.
Christian’s Bistro is located in Plover, a mere 15 minute drive from our home. Chef Christian Czerwonka and his wife Leah own and operate this sophisticated (but comfortable) restaurant that allows him to showcase local and seasonal (plus other fantastic finds) ingredients with some New Orleans flair. I think we can comfortably be called “regulars” here, and love it when Leah slides in the booth to chat a bit before we order or to check how the meal was afterwards. This past Saturday we arranged to have Chef create a tasting menu for us, as we’ve so enjoyed this option at other restaurants. We wouldn’t know what was coming, but fully trusted Chef to wow us!
And we enjoyed every moment of the meal. Leah convinced us to act like grownups for the evening, and we decided to split a wine pairing, something we’ve never done. Before each course, we were introduced to a wine that was selected to compliment the food.. The first course was an incredibly tender beef carpaccio wrapped around a toasted asiago thyme breadstick, with the most delicious seared wedge of blue cheese, paired with a sparkling Spanish white wine. Our second course, pictured above, was among the best dishes we’ve ever experienced at Christian’s. A Tuna and Beet Tartare with goat cheese, almonds, and asparagus tempura. The flavors fairly burst on the tongue – so bright and fresh and clean. It was paired with a crisp, fruity white wine.
The third course was paired with a red Gigondas and was one of my favorite courses – veal sweetbreads with polenta and a delicious Romesco sauce (made from roasted peppers and tomatoes and ground almonds). It was mellow and comforting, and the sweetbreads were cooked superbly – like the best chicken nugget ever made. The 4th course (pictured above) had a punch of spice to it, but in the most delicious way. It was Piri Piri Shrimp with Couscous. My lips were definitely buzzing after this, but the flavor was so addicting, we both wanted to lick the bowls! It was paired with a peppery Zinfandel.
Our 5th course was paired with another dry red, a Cabernet Sauvignon from RouteStock Cellar in Napa Valley, a strong wine to pair with the strong flavors of the beef short ribs, seared scallop, roasted potatoes and onion rings in the most delicious reduced sauce.
After five substantial courses, the meal concluded with the loveliest tiny ramekin of vanilla bean creme brûlée. Being dessert people, we were hoping for something with a little bit more pop, but it was a creamy, perfectly executed and delicious creme brûlée that certainly was without fault.
As we had always ordered from the menu in the past, it was a lot of fun to allow Chef to surprise us with each course. The wine pairing was also interesting to experience and learn more about the flavors in the wine complimenting and accentuating certain flavors in the food. We always look forward to a meal at Christian’s, and will for many years to come!