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Bistro Vivant, Downtown McLean - Chef Katie Busch Replaces Ed Hardy

McLean French Bistro

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#1 DonRocks

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 05:49 PM

I'm not saying this is breaking news or anything, but Aykan Demiroglu, former GM of Le Paradou and owner of Locanda, has posted a classified here.


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#2 kirite

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 08:51 PM

Where in McLean will it be located?

#3 DonRocks

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 09:12 PM

Where in McLean will it be located?


In the old McLean 1910 space.

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#4 kirite

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 04:32 PM

Work seems to have stopped here. I pass by here a couple of times a week and no signs of any activity. It was supposed to have opened in late March.

#5 DonRocks

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 08:03 PM

Work seems to have stopped here. I pass by here a couple of times a week and no signs of any activity. It was supposed to have opened in late March.


They just got their liquor license, and will be opening within a couple of weeks.

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#6 wristband

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 02:01 PM

Sign posted on the door says opening next week (May 7?)...

#7 DonRocks

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 07:39 PM

Sign posted on the door says opening next week (May 7?)...


Well, Aykan actually told me he was shooting for "mid next week," but I worded my post to give him as much slack as possible (you never know what's going to come up at the last minute).

Anyway, unless that sign specifically said "May 7" (your post doesn't make it clear) I would go with "mid next week," and don't blame me if they miss their target date - I've seen it happen, time and time again, especially for non-chains (chains are good at predicting opening dates and sticking to them because they've been through the process many times).

Don't forget also that they'll probably be doing private friends and family test meals, so I wouldn't assume they're open even if you drive by and see people having dinner.

Cheers,
Rocks

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#8 kirite

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 08:50 PM

Well, Aykan actually told me he was shooting for "mid next week," but I worded my post to give him as much slack as possible (you never know what's going to come up at the last minute).

Anyway, unless that sign specifically said "May 7" (your post doesn't make it clear) I would go with "mid next week," and don't blame me if they miss their target date - I've seen it happen, time and time again, especially for non-chains (chains are good at predicting opening dates and sticking to them because they've been through the process many times).

Don't forget also that they'll probably be doing private friends and family test meals, so I wouldn't assume they're open even if you drive by and see people having dinner.

Cheers,
Rocks


Can't wait. IMHO Evo Bistro is the only decent restaurant in McLean, but I've not been there since it changed the menu.

#9 Anna Blume

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 09:49 AM

New news from this steadfast patron of farmers markets?

#10 DonRocks

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 09:56 AM

New news from this steadfast patron of farmers markets?


I haven't been, but the menu looks intriguing, and the pictures Aykan has been posting on Facebook look very appealing.

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#11 wristband

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 02:05 PM

Had lunch there late last week. The room decor and design has not changed from the 1910 incarnation save for the addition of a large chalkboard listing daily specials. Quality is good, service is pleasant and eager to assist. Prices are inversely related to portion size - hefty price tags (for a bistro lunch) slapped on modest sized (at times, anemic) portions.

Salad nicoise, a pea soup, fish fillet nicely cooked atop veg and a charcuterie plate were pleasing. But the tariff isn't cheap.

#12 DrXmus

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 10:07 AM

There's a downtown McLean?

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#13 BklynBoy

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 10:16 AM

We ate there last night and loved it. Service was excellent and the food was too. Here is what the three of us ordered:
  • Fried mussels appetizer. Terrific, served on a bed of cubed potatoes and shallot. (The sauce was great and we went through a basket of the very good bread dipping into it)
  • House Pate
  • Zuccini blossoms stuffed with goat cheese and herbs
  • Steak Tartare
  • bouillabaisse
I thought the prices and portions were quite reasonable for the most part. For example the bouillabaisse for $20 had monkfish, skate, scallop, shrimp and another white fish. I could barely finish it. My wife was a bit disappointed that the steak tartare came pre-mixed, but that is a pretty meager criticism of an otherwise excellent meal.

This is a welcome addition to the neighborhood, it has a neighborhood bistro feel to it already. A good omen is that the place was filled on a Tuesday evening

#14 DonRocks

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 01:54 PM

After a third recent visit this evening [to Amoo's Kabob], I'm prepared to call their long-cooked Persian stews and house specials "the best Persian cooking in the DC area right now" (my last meal at Rose was very disappointing), and "perhaps the best cooking in all of McLean." Note: I have not yet been to Bistro Vivant.
...
Secrets in this town are few and far between, but this is one of them. Raised to Italic, and, for now, ranked as the #1 restaurant in McLean.


Glad I hedged, because as much as I like Amoo's Kabob, there is no doubt that Bistro Vivant is the best restaurant in McLean right now.

Many good wines priced in the low $30s, too - the Raffault Chinon Rosé works well with most anything on the menu here.

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#15 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 06:40 PM

My brother and his family came down to visit. It was getting late and we have to eat early, so we checked out Bistro Vivant because it was nearby. We didn't have reservation but we were there before 6 and they took us in. We ordered a bunch of small plates and appetizers to share. Not everything was a hit but this is a restaurant worth checking out if you're in the hood. I'd say there's nothing better around McLean, Tysons, and Vienna right now.

We ordered (1) beet salad, (2) vichyssoise (special), (3) escargots, (4) shishito pepper and anchovy, (5) grilled langostino (special), (6) fried artichoke, (7) shrimp in garlic, (8) goat cheese croquettes, (8) mussels, (9) big charcuterie platter, (10) clams gratinee (special), (11) salmon terrine, (12) zucchini blossoms stuffed with cheese, and (13) seared scallops.

Italics = I didn't try.
Bold = really good
Underline = nothing special
Plain = pretty good, worth ordering if you like that kind of stuff.

Between the specials, small plates, and appetizers, there were lots of interesting stuff to try. The escargot wasn't just cooked in butter and garlic. I don't know what the sauce is but the snails were cooked in a creamy sauce with fingerling potatoes. The mussels might've been the best dish of the night, not a hint of fishiness and they tasted great. The scallops were super tender, and so were the langostino, which were bisected and then grilled. The shrimp in garlic butter was a touch fishy, the clams dressed with cream with cheese was fattening, they didn't taste bad, I just don't enjoy cream and cheese with my clams, and the salmon terrine was pretty flavorless.

As long as they keep the menu interesting and the cooking stays at the current level, this place will easily stay on the top of the heap in McLean/Tysons/Vienna. Note: It's not swanky. People in McLean aren't particularly hip anyway so I'm not sure that's an issue. The clientele seems to skew old. Nostos is a much better looking restaurant.

#16 kirite

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 09:40 PM

We ordered (1) beet salad, (2) vichyssoise (special), (3) escargots, (4) shishito pepper and anchovy, (5) grilled langostino (special), (6) fried artichoke, (7) shrimp in garlic, (8) goat cheese croquettes, (8) mussels, (9) big charcuterie platter, (10) clams gratinee (special), (11) salmon terrine, (12) zucchini blossoms stuffed with cheese, and (13) seared scallops.
...
As long as they keep the menu interesting and the cooking stays at the current level, this place will easily stay on the top of the heap in McLean/Tysons/Vienna. Note: It's not swanky. People in McLean aren't particularly hip anyway so I'm not sure that's an issue. The clientele seems to skew old. Nostos is a much better looking restaurant.


We had a great dinner at Bistro Vivant on Thursday but ordered different things. Artichoke app, pepper and anchovies app, arctic char and sea bass mains, mango sorbet and stewed cherries with vanilla ice cream. We would order all of these again. The owner stopped by to chat. He told us that he regularly trolls the Dupont FM for the freshest and tastiest. He has a licence application to sell vin par le bouteille retail. Ericandblueboy's description of the interior is spot on. I would only add that the bar is rather large and set back from the tables, and the chalkboard with speicials is a nice touch.

#17 DannyNoonan

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 10:26 AM

Does this place have a bar? I need to find a place in Mclean to meet someone for a drink and thought it might be nice to try someone new.

Thanks
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#18 kirite

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 11:55 AM

Does this place have a bar? I need to find a place in Mclean to meet someone for a drink and thought it might be nice to try someone new.

Thanks


Yes.

#19 kirite

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 09:35 PM

We had a great dinner at Bistro Vivant on Thursday but ordered different things. Artichoke app, pepper and anchovies app, arctic char and sea bass mains, mango sorbet and stewed cherries with vanilla ice cream. We would order all of these again. The owner stopped by to chat. He told us that he regularly trolls the Dupont FM for the freshest and tastiest. He has a licence application to sell vin par le bouteille retail. Ericandblueboy's description of the interior is spot on. I would only add that the bar is rather large and set back from the tables, and the chalkboard with speicials is a nice touch.


We had dinner here on Sunday, and it was very good. The figs and serrano ham app was an unusual but delicious pairing. The grilled octopus was a bit disappointing because it was a bit rubbery. Entrees were great. Coquille St. Jacques with grape tomatoes and kalamata olives had four enormous scallops grilled to melt in the mouth. The wild saumon was placed on a watercress coulis speckled with red pepper strips, grape tomatoes, and tiny bits of mushroom. The foursome next to us was French. That says something.

#20 DonRocks

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 08:30 AM

I was the last diner at Bistro Vivant this evening, happily sitting outside, just me, my CD jacket (as reading material), and the parking lot of Langley Shopping Center.

It was a Tuesday, and I knew the staff wanted the heck out of there, so I made it clear to the host that I'd be quick, but he was perfectly gracious, and made me feel welcome.

A healthy, quick meal starting with a glass of 2011 Jean-Marice Raffault Chinon Rosé ($10). I mentioned this above, but it's worth repeating: Driss Zahidi's fine cooking works well with a bone-dry rosé - the paler the better - yet the Raffault isn't really all that pale or dry, but still works well with everything but the darkest of meats on this menu.

There's a reason French food is the best food in the world: because it is. And it's so nice, civilized, and genteel to enjoy a glass of wine al fresco, even overlooking a parking lot, with (what surely must be) Panorama bread with fine, salted butter, waiting for the Seared Tuna, Salmon & Lobster ($23) to arrive, cooked with wilted frisée and citrus sauce which could have been orange-based, but skewed its acidity more toward clementines in the treble register. The butter in this dish has its arm around the citrus, and virtually ensures that no bread will remain. Chunks and claws of lobster took the center of the plate, on top of the gorgeous wilted frisée, and flanked by a triangle of three roulades of seared tuna stuffed with irregularly cut salmon, everything knitting together in harmony.

A beautiful, one-course dinner at McLean's best restaurant. I assume Chef Driss Zahidi was on the line this evening because the cooking was right on the money; if he wasn't, then that's better still. I'm batting 3-for-3 at Bistro Vivant, my only complaint being the uncertainty I have about the wine pricing, as it relates to the size of glasses, half-carafes, full-carafes, and bottles - it would be good to title these categories with the number of ounces in each pour.

Thank you to the staff at Bistro Vivant for gracing me with a delightfully peaceful meal. Although I was not out reviewing this evening, this clearly remains as the top restaurant in McLean, and I happily look forward to returning in the future whenever I crave local downscale fine dining without a lot of fuss or jacked-up prices. This is good food, prepared well, and you'll leave happy and feeling like you just had good value for your money.

And I think it's beautiful just how many senior citizens were leaving the restaurant this evening, as I sat near the door, watching them being helped to their cars. In a way, it reminds me of Bethesda's Tragara, a wonderfully accommodating restaurant that I've heard we're on the verge of losing (please say it isn't so, Claude). I love seeing senior citizens enjoy themselves, and to a person, that's exactly what they were doing tonight. Bravo.

Keep it up, Aykan - you've got yourself a winner on your hands. It'll never get buzz, but you're developing quite a loyal clientele who respects you greatly. This is the type of restaurant that could easily survive for thirty years, and I hope it does.

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#21 BklynBoy

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 03:23 PM

We were on the way to the Russian Gourmet on a weekday last week and on the spur of the moment decided to sit outside for a late lunch at Bon Vivant. Pate, cold tomato soup, mussels and a couple of glasses of wine. It is great to have a place in Mclean with terrific food and where - like any neighborhood bistro - you do not feel awkward dropping in dressed informally

#22 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 07:44 PM

Seared Tuna, Salmon & Lobster ($23)


Was that a special? I had dinner there tonight and that wasn't available. I ended up order two specials - clams and sausage in a tomato/wine sauce and seafood risotto. The clams were $12 for 12 manila clams (quite pricy for manila clams) but it tasted pretty good. The risotto ($24), on the other hand, was bland (was told it was prepared with lobster stock but it lacked such flavor and salt), some of the seafood was fishy, and the rice a tad under-cooked. I told the bartender about it, he offered a replacement, but I really didn't want to sit around for another dish. I ended up paying full price - since they offered replacement and I turned them down, can't really complain.

#23 DonRocks

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 09:24 PM

Was that a special? I had dinner there tonight and that wasn't available. I ended up order two specials - clams and sausage in a tomato/wine sauce and seafood risotto. The clams were $12 for 12 manila clams (quite pricy for manila clams) but it tasted pretty good. The risotto ($24), on the other hand, was bland (was told it was prepared with lobster stock but it lacked such flavor and salt), some of the seafood was fishy, and the rice a tad under-cooked. I told the bartender about it, he offered a replacement, but I really didn't want to sit around for another dish. I ended up paying full price - since they offered replacement and I turned them down, can't really complain.


Yes, sorry, it was a daily special last night which I neglected to mention.

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#24 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 10:25 PM

I had one really good meal, and two so so follow up meals. Can't stand the owner tagging Tom and Todd for no good reason on Facebook. I'm not a fan of his business practice.

cliff notes: someone signed the bill and left a tip on a bill but did not leave a credit card. Most likely an honest mistake. Next thing you know, the bill with signature was posted on Facebook, and I see this because the owner tagged Tom Seitsema and Todd Kliman.

#25 ScotteeM

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 10:23 AM

I've eaten lunch here 5-6 times over the summer months and found it trying hard but uneven. Chilled heirloom tomato soup was really delicious, if a little steep at $8. But I wonder how they can offer this out of season? Grilled chicken cobb salad was wonderful on two occasions, but lackluster a third time: vegetables in too-large chunks, looking like they'd been chopped with a dull knife, pork belly not as crisp. Confit de Canard was a large duck leg that had been burned in places (not a nice char, but unappetizing burn), and the warm lentil salad would have benefited from some acid. Once when I was craving a burger, the staff graciously accommodated my gluten intolerance by serving my burger sans bun, with salad instead of frites. The burger itself was perfectly cooked to my order, beefy, and juicy, and the salad, while not frites, was really tasty. Creme brulee was very good, as were sorbets I tried once. The service was friendly and accommodating, but I was never informed of the specials I heard recited at other tables, and it took several visits for me to find the blackboard that lists them, as I was usually seated with my back to it.

Because it is conveniently located a few blocks from both of my doctors' offices and I've been spending entirely too much time with one of them, I'll likely go back. I would say this is a nice neighborhood joint, but not a destination restaurant, and not yet in the same league as my favorite bistros: Bastille, Restaurant Eve, and Dino. It has potential, I think.

Dona Animella


#26 SeanMike

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 02:04 PM

So...

 

When I moved up here, I moved in with my brother and one of my oldest, best friends, Ed. After working a bit in politics, Ed got back into cooking, which he'd always loved, and soon found himself with a great wife and jobs in NYC.

 

This summer he and his wife Francoise moved back down to DC, and now he's let people know...well, I put it in his words:

"I'm the new Chef at Bistro Vivant in Mclean. Already working on a special wine dinner with La Bastide Saint Dominique February 19th."

 

I had a chance to try his food at his previous restaurant in Alexandria (which didn't work out, unfortunately, but the food was great though obviously I am biased) so I'll be excited to see what he does here - I've never been myself. 

 

Ed will also be doing a couple of days in April down in Charlottesville at Glass Haus. 


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#27 kirite

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 02:39 PM

So...

 

When I moved up here, I moved in with my brother and one of my oldest, best friends, Ed. After working a bit in politics, Ed got back into cooking, which he'd always loved, and soon found himself with a great wife and jobs in NYC.

 

This summer he and his wife Francoise moved back down to DC, and now he's let people know...well, I put it in his words:

"I'm the new Chef at Bistro Vivant in Mclean. Already working on a special wine dinner with La Bastide Saint Dominique February 19th."

 

I had a chance to try his food at his previous restaurant in Alexandria (which didn't work out, unfortunately, but the food was great though obviously I am biased) so I'll be excited to see what he does here - I've never been myself. 

 

Ed will also be doing a couple of days in April down in Charlottesville at Glass Haus. 

 

This could be good news.  The last few times we've eaten here have been very disappointing.



#28 DonRocks

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 03:37 PM

This could be good news.  The last few times we've eaten here have been very disappointing.

 

Boy, I don't know - I've never had a bad meal here. Ed Hardy is the chef's name. 

 

I'm torn about the placement in the Dining Guide, especially based on Scott and Claudia's meal last night at Amoo's Kabob, but I think Bistro Vivant is a more complete restaurant, with good wines, and service staff trained by Aykan. I'll leave it for now, and will reevaluate at some point.


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#29 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:14 PM

Wapo write-up.  I'm actually excited. 



#30 wristband

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:02 PM

After a number of mediocre lunches locally (Liberty Tavern, are you listening?), very pleased to say we had a very nice time today at BV.  Thursday is "cassoulet day" so 3 were on offer at lunch.  The rabbit & quail cassoulet and the salmon entree were terrific.  The grilled octopus and fried oyster apps were a welcome surprise.  Yes, the prices are high and the service can be slow (at lunch) but the new chef is putting his mark on the place.

 

More importantly, this was considerably better than our last visit four months ago which was made us swear off the place.  Instead, heading back next week!



#31 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 01:08 PM

I almost went to Bistro Vivant last night for dinner because their Wednesday plats du jour is plateau de fruits de mer.  Unfortunately I have no idea what's on such plateau and how much it is.  I also don't know if the menu's changed since Ed took over as chef.  Does anyone know?



#32 DonRocks

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 01:49 PM

I almost went to Bistro Vivant last night for dinner because their Wednesday plats du jour is plateau de fruits de mer.  Unfortunately I have no idea what's on such plateau and how much it is.  I also don't know if the menu's changed since Ed took over as chef.  Does anyone know?

 

I've been one time, shortly after the chef change, and had my least-favorite meal at Bistro Vivant. It was *way* too soon to write anything about, or to judge, but since you asked ...

 

Don't put too much stock into this reply - it was too early to make any conclusions at all, and they still sit atop the McLean Dining Guide.

 

I look forward to reading other people's thoughts, and will surely be back there (but I have a *lot* of restaurants to catch up on).


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#33 DonRocks

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 11:24 PM

Okay then ...

 

Ed_hardy_candy.jpg


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#34 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 11:03 AM

I popped in a couple of weeks ago on a Wednesday.  I wanted to see what was on the plateau de fruits de mer but it was no longer on the menu as Wednesday plat du jour.  New menu is now up on the website.  Instead, I had the rabbit provencale (which is now the Tuesday night plat du jour) and duck fat fries.  The fries were limp, which by itself makes the fries unappetizing.  I thought the rabbit was so-so (but it was the first time I ever had rabbit provencale).  It didn't taste like a dish that was slow cooked for hours.



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Posted 23 April 2013 - 05:01 PM

Have to sadly agree.  Had lunch recently and it was meh. Halibut was expensivo @ $28, overcooked, plopped in a sweet red pepper sauce that just did not work on so many levels.  The "new" grilled octopus - well, to be charitable, bring back the "old" and dump the pork belly and sticky sauce.  Our orders were screwed up, perhaps because the waiter seemed stoned.  I'm not crazy about the spring menu - for one thing, the cassoulets have largely disappeared and for another the options offered are limited.

 

I hope they can turn it around.  But at these high prices I can't see returning for awhile (I do hope the new chef can get it together b/c it was starting to be very promising).



#36 DonRocks

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 06:45 PM

I can't raise Amoo's above Bistro Vivant in the Dining Guide, but it remains solidly entrenched as the number two restaurant in McLean. This gets a little tricky because comparing it to Tachibana is a fool's errand, and as I type this, I'm wondering if I should raise Tachibana above Amoo's because, after all, my criteria is "where would I choose to go, if someone else was paying for the meal," i.e., if price was no object, and I suppose the answer is Tachibana. And as I type this further, I realize I must raise Tachibana ahead of Amoo's, even though there's no question in my mind as to which restaurant is the better value - McLean is fortunate to have all three.

 

I don't want to make a big production out of this, but based on one meal, post-chef change, and a couple of angry messages from diners, I have to (hopefully temporarily) downgrade Bistro Vivant in the Dining Guide. Please consider my previous reviews of it, at least for the time being, expired.

 

After one dinner, I'm initiating coverage of Chef Zahidi's new restaurant in Fairfax, Le Mediterranean Bistro, in Italic.


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#37 SeanMike

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 04:13 PM

Next week my friend Ed Hardy is doing a "Duck Season/Wabbit Season" menu while Wolf Trap is showing Looney Tunes. That includes hasenpfeffer, which I've wanted to try since I was a kid. The menu isn't online yet, but if anyone is interested I'll see if he's cool with me reposting his first draft (or if there's a more accurate one).

 

I'm planning on getting over there one day next week, but if any of y'all try it, I'd love to see what you think. (Now to figure out a day to go and avoid old college friends...)


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#38 SeanMike

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 01:55 PM

FYI, Chef Ed's last night was ... errr ... last night, according to Facebook/Twitter.


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#39 DonRocks

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 01:58 PM

FYI, Chef Ed's last night was ... errr ... last night, according to Facebook/Twitter.

 

If any aspiring chefs are looking for a change, contact Aykan on this website.


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#40 kirite

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 02:36 PM

If any aspiring chefs are looking for a change, contact Aykan on this website.

 

Has anyone eaten here since Katie Busch arrived? Thanks.



#41 DonRocks

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 12:51 PM

I haven't seen any reviews of Bistro Vivant since Katie Busch replaced Ed Hardy as Chef de Cuisine, and luck happened to put us in McLean right around dinnertime.

 

On a chilly Thursday, around 6:30, there was a healthy crowd, mainly of older diners (average age perhaps 50-60) - the service was what you'd want at a French Bistro in McLean: polite and efficient.

 

As my hungry young dining companion got a glass of water, the first thing I noticed was how expensive the wines are here - have they always been this much? I don't think so - the rosés, for example, now start in the upper 40s and extend into the 60s. Huh? Unless my memory has failed me entirely, this list they have on their website is obsolete: 

 

Attached File  BistroVivantWineList.pdf   174.84KB   93 downloads

 

Fortunately, their "house white," the 2011 Patient Cotat Sauvignon Blanc "Le Grand Caillou" ($35) has only gone up a dollar, and is one of the few things off this list that I would order. Incidentally, this wine retails for about $10.99 which means that Bistro Vivant is probably paying $7 or $8. A rip-off? Yes, but your options are limited if you want a bottle of wine here. As always, Bistro Vivant will package the unconsumed portion for the diner to take home (isn't this a wonderful law?)

 

Matt was waffling between the hanger steak and a daily special of NY Strip Steak ($27) with grilled squash, pomme purée, and rosemary jus (I'm listing these just as the menu does, so forgive my Franglais). The steak was a huge slab of boneless meat, tough on the outside, tender and cooked to medium-rare on the inside. The pommes purées were the weak point of the meal, not because they weren't good, but because they weren't hot. The grilled squash needed a bit of salt, but were cut lengthwise and perfectly grilled. This was a lot of food, even for $27, and I'm glad Matt got this steak.

 

I also went with a daily special: Tangerine Poached Pink Snapper ($26), a wonderful tasting fish, delicate and light, perhaps poached sous-vide because the inside was warm, but seemed barely cooked - that's a tough thing to pull off otherwise. The light, pale undertones of tangerine juice ran throughout the dish, but not in excess. Served with broccolini and red sunchokes, the one major problem with this dish was the portion size of the fish - it was presented to maximize visual appeal, but was small enough to be problematic. 

 

At this level, Bistro Vivant is a package that's right about where it needs to be in order to survive in McLean. It won't win any awards, but it will attract a wealthy, older clientele who want proper service, attractive, well-balanced entrees, and a pleasant atmosphere in which to take their meals. I had previously downgraded Bistro Vivant from Italic, and despite it having been much improved on this visit, it's now sitting right on the border. I'm sure I'll be here again, and will make a decision at that time - either way, it is what it is, and the decision to italicize it or not isn't worth fretting over (although I probably will).


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#42 BklynBoy

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 03:00 PM

Perhaps they have arrested the downward slide in quality and plateaued at simply, "Meh"? Nevertheless,  given the limited number of places to sit down and have decent service, a full bar and and decent - if overpriced - food in Downtown Mclean, we've continued to patronize them on occasion, especially for a quick lunch at the bar. It also seems to me that that have moved fairly far afield of the original menu, a pretty traditional, Provencal oriented bistro menu to something that is considerably more American influenced.   



#43 hopsing

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 04:37 PM

We went here for the first time last night.  I was looking for a French restaurant to replace my beloved Lavandou in Cleveland Park.  Well, this restaurant isn't it although we might try it again.  My husband's beet salad was interesting; he liked it.  My onion soup was pretty blah.  Watery, tasting more of oregano or something other than onions.  Thin slice of melted cheese (not sure if it was really gruyere) on top.  Won't be ordering this again.  My steak frites was much better.  The meat was outstanding and tasty, but they served it lukewarm.  When I mentioned this, they said it has to sit for 5 minutes before they serve it.  Well, I think I'd rather they serve it right away because lukewarm steak isn't doing it justice.  The frites were pretty good.  My husband liked his beef burgundy but it had few vegetables in it and not much sauce.  The first round of bread was really good, the 2nd round all burnt and dry.  The wine list was pricey so we stuck with the cheapest bottle of red which tasted pretty good, but it was still $35.  Hit and miss, maybe we will be back, maybe we won't.  Service was friendly though.


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#44 DonRocks

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 04:41 PM

We went here for the first time last night.  I was looking for a French restaurant to replace my beloved Lavandou in Cleveland Park.  Well, this restaurant isn't it although we might try it again.  My husband's beet salad was interesting; he liked it.  My onion soup was pretty blah.  Watery, tasting more of oregano or something other than onions.  Thin slice of melted cheese (not sure if it was really gruyere) on top.  Won't be ordering this again.  My steak frites was much better.  The meat was outstanding and tasty, but they served it lukewarm.  When I mentioned this, they said it has to sit for 5 minutes before they serve it.  Well, I think I'd rather they serve it right away because lukewarm steak isn't doing it justice.  The frites were pretty good.  My husband liked his beef burgundy but it had few vegetables in it and not much sauce.  The first round of bread was really good, the 2nd round all burnt and dry.  The wine list was pricey so we stuck with the cheapest bottle of red which tasted pretty good, but it was still $35.  Hit and miss, maybe we will be back, maybe we won't.  Service was friendly though.

 

It's nice to get something close to confirmation of what I experienced. 

 

Now, if people would please do the same with Lupo Verde - my impression (from feedback that I'm receiving) is that I might have hit it on a perfect night. I seek truth, not glory.


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#45 ScotteeM

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 05:34 PM

I haven't been here in 2 years, mainly because of my own lukewarm reactions to previous lunches, and those of others. But today a morning appointment in Arlington ran an hour late and we had to make a 2:00 appointment around the corner from Bistro Vivant, so here is where we landed for lunch.

 

We didn't even remember that it is Restaurant Week. Three courses for $20.14 is a steal!

 

We both started with Fricassee of Fresh Calimari--roasted peppers, charred leek puree, preserved lemons. The calimari was delicious and tender, and the other elements on the plate complemented it nicely. We were both very pleasantly surprised at how delicious this was.

 

Steamed Mussels--lobster nage, cara cara orange, Pernod, cherry tomatoes was a good-sized bowl of mussels, plump and juicy, with plenty of very tasty broth. I got one taste--my husband enjoyed this immensely, sopping up every drop of the broth with bread that he said was quite good.

 

I had Hanger Steak Frites--Vivant Cafe Butter. Although the steak was just a little more medium than medium-rare, it was tasty, the butter on top a very nice addition. The frites were hot and crisp, perfectly seasoned with salt, garlic, and parsley. I could eat those every day! (Listed as $19 on the "regular" lunch menu, this was so far above the steak & frites I had in Del Ray in June for $18 that they're not in the same league at all.)

 

Desserts were pretty good. I couldn't taste the Goat Cheesecake, but husband seemed to enjoy it. Madagascar Vanilla Creme Brulee was fine, but not the best I've had.

 

Service was leisurely, but our server was diligent about making sure my food was gluten-free. We're already planning to try it again next week when we're in McLean for yet another appointment. We both felt very happy to have tried Bistro Vivant. It seems that perhaps things have improved in the kitchen of late.

 

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