OPA! Flaming Greek cheese and Marla’s Meg Ryan moment at Bistro One

I have no ability to separate eating and making love. I’m sorry. Both are primal and sensual. And right there, in Bistro One last week, I did everything in my power to keep from having a Meg Ryan moment from the movie When Harry Met A Sally (except that Meg/Sally was faking it).

“I love you” I said to owner Nick, on our second visit to the upscale restaurant in downtown Madison. “But your husband is right here!” he replied in mock surprise. I grinned at him, “We have an understanding when it comes to food.” 

Cindy, always smiling

Of course I also loved our server, Cindy. We had her on our first visit and I was happy to see her again. She makes us feel welcome and remembered my affinity for Pinot Noir and cucumber soup.

Last week we started our dinner with the Maze Dips – an olive tapenade, Jerusalem artichoke heart and tzatziki served with pita chips. Delicious, and I’m pretty sure I had more than my share of that tapenade.

But when I saw a flaming appetizer arrive at a nearby table, I wanted to hear my very own “OPA!” and try it myself. So this week we ordered the Saganagi, an imported Greek cheese flaming with Ouzo.

“OPA!” indeed.

Kurt digging into the smile-inducing Saganagi.

When we first ate there a couple weeks ago, this was the conversation on my personal Facebook page:

Cold Cucumber Soup. There really are no words, only noises.

This led to the When Harry Met Sally movie discussion, and a debate on whether it was technically a ménage a soup and determined that since Kurt took a bite, it was, indeed.

I was so happy to hear the cold cucumber soup was on the menu again, so I ordered it instead of a salad. I ate rather noisily, letting slip a little happy murmur with eat bite.

Kurt enjoyed his salad but I could tell he was considering joining me in my soup again.

Filet Mignon in Bourbon Sauce

I really could have even just ended the meal with the soup, if I didn’t already know what was coming next. I knew because I had it the week before. In my constant struggle to become vegetarian, there remains one constant and sometimes ridiculously high barrier: I love filet mignon. I can pass up almost all meat, even though I sometimes crave a burger after, say a 10-mile hike all over Clifty Creek (blog on that tomorrow). And the more vegetarian dishes I eat, the more affinity and cravings I have for veggies. But that one cut, I call it the mad cow cut, partly because of anatomy, partly because I go a little bonkers when I have it. My own grazing teeth, dulled and more inclined toward soft vegetables and fruit, has an easy time with a tender filet, and Nick soaks his in a bourbon sauce that’s out of this world.

Steak Diana

Usually it’s Kurt who has the meat, because for him it’s generally red meat and pasta. The first time we ate there he had the Steak Diana and drooled over it. It’s a New York strip grilled over apple wood chips and served with a creamy demi mushroom sauce. Once I fall in love, it’s nearly impossible to get me to try anything else. I’m kind of food monogamous that way. I have a favorite item at each restaurant and once I figure out my favorite, I’m set from then on.

As my eyes glazed to match the bourbon sauce arriving on the filet mignon in front of me, Kurt was digging into his plate of the Bistro’s Famous Primavera with shrimp: Fresh veggies tossed with linguine in herbs and in a fraiche sauce. Oh if I could only eat everything!

Copper Skillet

The copper skillet arrived and between bites of my filet, I sampled cinnamon-dusted carrots and fresh potatoes, green beans and seasoned pasta. Although I’m a big fan of baklava, I’m an even bigger fan of tiramisu, so when I heard it was a dessert choice, that was the only option for me to end my meal.

Kurt said I “must, must, must, MUST” use this photo he took of me. Gee, I have no idea why…

Madison has been an incredible place to live, and I’ve been overjoyed at the number of happy endings (and beginnings and middles) available at these upscale eateries.

This will be my last gourmet restaurant blog for Madison, but I’ll try to get in my everyday eatery favorites before I go.

Love, Marla

4 Comments on “OPA! Flaming Greek cheese and Marla’s Meg Ryan moment at Bistro One

  1. Wonderful how the deep mahogany of the wine compliments the pale white of your cleavage! Yea, wonder why Kurt wanted to post that one indeed.

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