Bistros are remarkable in that they somehow manage to be both fancy and casual at the same time, much like a necktie with Taz on it. Feel gussied up without too much fuss with today's Groupon: for $18, you get $36 worth of elegant fare at Montclair Bistro in Oakland.
The homey Oakland Hills bistro boasts an elegant menu of culturally blended cuisine, designed by decorated chef-owner Henry Vortriede. Start with an order of the bistro lamb sliders, served open-face with a roasted garlic aioli and Creole onions ($12), or opt for the warm roasted Brussels sprouts salad, with brown-sugar-cured bacon under a citrus vinaigrette ($8.50). Like the appendages of a T-rex, entrees come in both small and large portions. Snag savory sea fare, such as the salmon-and-halibut Wellington, with wilted spinach and a Pernod truffled-champagne sauce and truffle slices ($14+), or head back to land for other meaty treats. Throw a carnivore a bone by pre-ordering the slow-braised lamb shank, served with a sourdough-gorgonzola bread pudding, assorted string beans, and a cucumber-mint salsa ($22), or watch a herbivore become instantly happified with the grilled eggplant "cannelloni," with a hearty Arborio risotto and shaved asparagus ($12.50+). An extensive wine list and exceptionally helpful staff ensure diners find the right fermented fruit drink to accompany any fruitful meal.
Montclair Bistro boasts a comfortable, provincial feel, and its cozy 1948-built space is warm, intimate, and was named “most likely to be still standing next century” by its graduating class. While enjoying the surroundings, wind down with a dessert wine or a dessert. Spoon-feed the delicate vanilla-bean panna cotta with fresh seasonal berries ($8) to a dashing date, or sweeten a sour meal with the local mayor over the hearty brown-sugar bread pudding, with vanilla-bean ice cream and Maker's Mark caramel sauce ($9).
A single weathervane squeaks as it sways in the breeze atop a peaked roof. Below it, a building dating back to 1948 houses Montclair Bistro amid fieldstone and brick pathways created in french provincial style. At 7 years old, future chef and owner Henry Vortriede began his cooking career by thumbing through culinary magazines and preparing meals for his family of eight. After going on to earn diplomas in food and wine at Le Cordon Bleu and L'Académie du Vin in Paris, France, he honed his skills as a chef in several French restaurants and created chocolate art showpieces at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco.
Today, as owner and chef at Montclair Bistro, Vortriede draws on his culinary background to create a rotating menu that includes organic chicken scaloppini sourced from Petaluma Farms, duck-and-wild-mushroom quesadillas with brown-butter chestnuts, and thick, double-cut pork chops with sweet-potato-apple pancakes. Another menu of brunch fare combines traditional favorites such as scrambled eggs with black truffle and eggs benedict with lobster cake.
Vortriede's taste is on display not only on plates but also on the restaurant’s walls, where elegant painted canvases hang. Two hundred bottles of wine stand nearby on storage racks inside walk-in glass covered with the pressed noses of oenophiles. The decor, which includes dark carpeting and dark chairs, white-linen-covered tables, and flickering candles, helped earn the restaurant OpenTable's 2012 Diners' Choice award for romantic restaurant in East Bay.
6118 Medau Pl.
Oakland, California 94611Get Directions