Dined at Chef/Owner Brian Hill’s Francine Bistro last night, and I liked it. Food is well prepared and innovative; service is very good. It is not, however, a fine dining restaurant; true to the name, it’s a bistro: loud, frenzied, fun. The prices aren’t exactly bistro prices (entrees $23-26), which is probably why I’ve heard mixed reactions to this little gem.
Nothing fancy in decor (wood floors, painted walls, mirrors to give the impression that it’s a bit larger than it really is–and also so the staff can monitor what’s happening). Although the din could be toned down with a bit of acoustical fabric wall hangings, but that would change the good-times feel of the place, even if conversation is a bit difficult.
I dined on braised local rabbit, grits, greens white asparagus, bacon miso. It was hefty portion, and I couldn’t finish it (yay, leftovers!). Next time I dine here, I’ll restrain myself for the day so I’m good and hungry. The appetizer courses looked wonderful, especially the Jerusalam artichoke soup with parmesan and fried garlic—mmmmm. I could easily have paired that with the skillet roast semolina gnocchi, country style ragu local pecorino and called it a meal in itself, perhaps with a salad, too. Next time.