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Bistro Vivant, Downtown McLean - Chef Katie Busch Has Departed - Closed

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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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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.

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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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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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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.

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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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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.

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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

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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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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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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

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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