You know I love a good restaurant with a creative menu to get my culinary juices flowing. Fresh Bistro, located in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, is just the spot. What a creative menu. It is a fusion of New Mexico, French and Italian cuisine. Love it!
As we sat down in this cozy refurbished old house, the first thing that caught my eye on the menu was the small plates. Smoked duck with Goat Cheese, Stuffed Mushrooms, or our choice, Roasted Artichoke Pain de Grille. A toasted Baguette topped with artichoke hearts, green chile, spinach, tomato and feta cheese. Who knew that a bit of heat from fire roasted green chile would compliment spinach and artichokes so well. Now, the only thing I would have changed is that the baguette is served on a plate drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Loved the sweet zing of the vinegar drizzled over the top, but serving it on the plate made the baguette a bit soggy. I would have liked the bread nice and crisp on the bottom with that creamy topping.
For my entrée I chose the Green Chile Chicken Frenchilada. Instead of corn tortillas for your classic New Mexico flat enchilada, they use whisper thin savory crepes just barely crispy on the edges. Absolutely brilliant. The sauce consists of roasted garlic cream sauce with shredded chicken, green chile and mushrooms. All topped with an egg cooked to your preference. The crepes add just a hint of sweetness that corn tortillas would not bring to this party.
The Frenchilada in itself makes a filling lunch but it also includes a salad with your choice of house-made dressings. A simple salad made with nice fresh greens, cucumber and tomato. The dressing was superb berry vinaigrette just slightly sweet. I did not ask, but my guess is that the vinegar was a mild white wine one balanced with some olive oil.
My lunch companion, Karla, co-founder of Enchanted Dish, selected from the Italian side of the menu. The Green Chile Chicken Alfredo is made with penne pasta cooked perfectly al dente. Pan seared chicken shredded with combination of parmesan and asiago cream sauce coats every piece of pasta. Sweet with a balanced dose of nutty, slightly salty cheesy goodness. YUM.
And, for dessert, Tiramisu Crepes. Nestled in a pool of coffee liqueur flavored syrup, a crepe filled with traditional creamy tiramisu filling. Egg yolks, cream, mascarpone cheese and a hint of sugar. All this topped with three dollops of slightly sweet whipped cream dusted with a bit of coco powder. Does dessert get any better than that? Light, refreshing and indulgent.
This cozy little Bistro reminds me of so many family owned places in Europe. Like them, Fresh Bistro is a family affair. Owned by Jon and Melissa Young. Jon created the menu but the day we were there, his son was cooking in the back and Jahqwah, Jon’s sister-in-law was our server. We had a great talk with General Manager Jovee, who keeps things running efficiently, while maintaining a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
Chef Jon has a great story. He grew up watching Julia Child (yup, me too). At fourteen, he started work in a local pizza joint. Eventually he went to work for renowned Chef Jean-Pierre Gozard. Self taught, Jon started out washing dishes, then to busboy, and eventually learning classic French cooking techniques from Chef Gozard. I admire so much, people who find their passion early in life and make it their life’s work. What an inspiring success story.