Tasty Tuesday: Bleu Restaurant & Bar

pic_bleu-night

If you know me, you probably know I really abhor chain stores and restaurants. The reasons are many, including their effects on local, independent businesses, but probably number one is just the character factor. I like character. In people, in food, in shopping experiences. In everything, really. I guess some people like the familiarity of chains, but I find them utterly boring in their predictability. I think it is horrible that you can go to any number of cities in the United States and have the exact same experience in every single one of them, if you so choose. This is also why I hate urban sprawl, because it makes this type of thing possible and probable. I’d have to say the only chain I like is Goodwill, and that’s only because they all have a different selection.

So I’m happy to say that Bleu is a unique dining experience in Winston-Salem. There is nothing chain-ish or predictable about it. The architecture of the building, the decor, and the menu are all a little different. Down to the table bread and dipping sauce. My company uses Bleu sometimes for a variety of functions, so I have eaten there a handful of times. Right now they have a 3-course prix fixe menu for $28 — not too shabby for the quality you’ll receive there. That would be a great reason to try it out. The Greensboro News & Record called it the Triad’s only 5-star restaurant, and while I disagree with that pretty seriously, it is worth putting on your short list.

Things I’ve had there that I would recommend are below.

Appetizers:

Vegetable pad Thai spring rolls with citrus-chili sauce, Sriracha peanuts, and herb salad.

Shrimp tempura with Chinese hot mustard, sweet Thai basil sauce, and kimchi.

Seared sea scallops with mushroom-lemon risotto and Norwegian goat cheese sauce. (This was awesome!!!)

Salads:

Mixed green salad with poached apples, walnuts, bleu cheese, and red wine vinaigrette. (Unfortunately I couldn’t eat the walnuts — allergic. The rest was great.)

Entrees:

Grilled salmon with lemon wine butter sauce and mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables. (This was excellent. I normally won’t eat salmon unless I cook it myself, but the temperature was perfect, and it was still just barely crisped on the edges and mouth-wateringly moist inside.)

What I would not recommend: the BLT, the Club sandwich, or the Prime Rib. This is not the best place in town to get a steak, and the lunch sandwiches are not as good as they sound on the menu.

On a happier note, they have some of the best service in town, hands down. I have only had better at one other place in this city. They are really good at being almost invisible and doing their work magically, quickly, quietly. You won’t have to ask for anything before they anticipate it. Five stars in that category. If any of you decide to check it out, let me know what you think!

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