Though its been open just a week, Bistro 29 seems to already have the blessing of local foodies who’ve been steadily streaming into the former Lolo’s space for first dibs at ratatouille crepes, roasted chicken and oddly enough, even the grilled Monterey Bay sardines (which BiteClub imagined might be a hard sell in The SR.) And word on the street, or at least on the blog, is that Chef Brian Anderson has got the goods to make a go of the Fifth Street spot that’s been cursed since the closure of Lolo’s. An alum of the much-missed restaurant, however, Anderson’s been able to reacquaint himself pretty quickly.
The menu is classic French bistro fare, so set your expectations accordingly. This ain’t Chevy’s. Starters include a endive, pear and seared crottin (a soft French cheese) salad; pan-seared foie gras and–getting the most kudos–steamed mussels with Pernod cream and fries made from garbanzo bean flour.
Crepes, however, are a specialty of the maison. Going full-throttle in the kitchen is a steaming griddle that’s pretty regularly slathered with buckwheat batter for both sweet and savory crepes. If you’re a fan of ratatouille, don’t miss Anderson’s rustic take on this classic–in a crepe. Entrees top out at $26 for a beef fillet, but favorites are the roasted chicken with truffled fries ($19), Cassoulet with duck confit ($24) and, though not for every palate, the very, ahem, fragrant olive oil-cured sardines. Just don’t plan to bring any leftovers home. Please.
Desserts swing back to crepes, with a selection of sweet finishes, including BiteClub’s fave: lemon and brown sugar. If you’ve saved some room (which you probably haven’t), honey-glazed beignets with fresh huckleberries are a solid choice, as is the porfiterole with ice cream, chocolate sauce and toasted candied pecans. Resistance is futile.
Bistro 29, 620 Fifth St., Santa Rosa, 546-2929.