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Le Petit Bistro - Rhinebeck, NY

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Our family doesn't usually frequent French restaurants. I don't know... maybe it has something to do with French restaurants being so hoity-toity or too classy for our taste, the hard to pronounce menu and the price.

We were at Rhinebeck, NY last Oct. 4th and after our visit at Omega Institute, my husband, mother and I were ready for a satisfying dinner before we go back to our bed and breakfast place.

Although, we were driving around the town of Rhinebeck without any clear idea of where we were going, we were serendipitously directed to Market St. where we were able to find public parking and walked over to where we can find a decent place to eat.

After a few minutes of walking, we happen to pass by a bakery called "Bread Alone" and we bought several slices of pound cakes and a bag of cookies to bring back with us just in case we got hungry during the night.

When we came out of the bakery, I saw on the opposite side of the street, the sign for "Le Petit Bistro". I immediately recognize the name since I have been searching the web for places to eat at Rhinebeck a month before this trip. However, as always, I forgot to print out the places that I have found since I got so busy days before. Fortunately, I still remembered the name of the restaurant since I remember reading that the chef was a graduate of the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) which is located at Hyde Park, NY which is next to Rhinebeck. Now, this is something worth going to since most reviews I found only have great words for the food. And besides, this is an opportunity to try food prepared by a CIA chef and see if they really stand up to the hype.

We were the first customers of the evening and we were seated in a nice area near the window. The rustic ambiance in the restaurant made it more cozy and intimate. Very clean and white linen grace the tables with sparkling plates, glasses and dinnerware.

After one of the wait staff gave us our menu and got our order for drinks, we had the opportunity to review the dinner menu. As expected, it was in French but it had English descriptions. In the midst of this, we were approach by the restaurant manager, who also gave us the 'specials for the night". True to one review that I read, they have to use the blackboard to read the specials since there were at least 12 of them... What a lot of specials!!! Other dining places could only offer you at least 3. Though they have an extensive offering of wine, we didn't try some since we didn't want to get too tizzy after dinner.

My husband and mother ordered the specials: Entrec�te Grill�e ou au Poivre (Sirloin Steak Grilled or with crushed Peppercorn Cream Sauce) and Sole Anglaise Meuni�re or Grenobloise (English Dover Sole) respectively. I opted for the Coquilles St. Jacques au Poivre (Sea Scallops with Crushed Black Peppercorns in a Cream Sauce). For appetizers, my husband chose the Prince Edward Island Mussels.

At first, I thought that the mussels my husband ordered might not be the right choice but I was proven wrong. We started with freshly made bread which was so good and it reminded me of Bertucci's bread.... so good even just with butter. Even though the bread given to us was not brought in a basket (the wait staff would serve us a piece on our plates) but they would immediately replenish you after you finished.

The mussels was, I believed. sauteed in butter and wine and was so soft that it could almost melt in your mouth. I'm glad that my hubby picked this one.

The fresh leafy salad was drizzled with their salad dressing that was just right to the palate and does not clash with the bread, the mussels and our drinks.

The entrees was worth the wait. My scallops were so good that I wanted to cry (hahaha! it really made me feel that the chef made it especially for me and only me alone). The scallops were grilled and that it didn't come out chewy but soft and gets sweeter the more you chew. It had a mushroom sauce that completed the grilled scallops to perfection. The dish came with rice which was cooked like we would cook our rice and the green beans was also done nicely.

My husband's grilled steak was so good even though it was done "rare". We seldom eat beef which is done rare but I was surprised that my husband agreed to have his steak done this way. However, another pleasant surprise was how the steak didn't give you that aftertaste that you get when eating half-cooked meat. I guess that the sauce that came with it must have perfectly hidden that offensive flavor. The fries was done perfectly: not fried but I think baked so nothing was hard or oil.

The sole fish that my mother ordered was equally delicious.

We also ordered dessert which was Raspberry Tart. The raspberries which were just the right sweetness despite the late season were spread on top of creamy custard (I think!) and was encased on their own made wafer (I think!). I love eating the tart as much as the wafer since it's just like our Filipino "barquillos".

Noticeably, the servings are usually small compared to gigantic dishes that you get when you dine in other places (e.g. Italian, American, Chinese, etc...) However, this does not necessarily mean that the food was not satisfying nor filling. In fact, we were filled up by the time we were done eating and definitely satisfied. We didn't have to carry back with us any leftovers, which would taste yucky anyway the next day.

All in all, the ambiance, the food, and the service were impeccable. I am so glad we had a dining experience to remember. Now I know why graduates of the Culinary Institute of America are held to a high-esteem.

If ever you find yourself in Rhinebeck look for Le Petit Bistro at 8 East Market Street Rhinebeck, NY, 12572.

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Big hugs and lots of kisses to my daughter, Karrol, for re-designing my blogsite. She is responsible for making my blog look cool... If you want to check out her own blog, visit K-Dream Palace and her contributing articles at AATheory.