We took a little time at the beginning of July to have a family vacation in Carmel and Monterey with our good friends. It was to be our last relaxing fling before the craziness of packing up and moving to Malaysia started in earnest. Knowing that our friends love French food, I started asking around for good French restaurants in the area.
Prior to the trip, Food Gal Carolyn Jung had invited us to dinner to meet with Ben the Single Guy Cook and Andrea Nguyen of Viet World Kitchen. Andrea recommended Bistro Moulin in Monterey as her favorite French restaurant. On the day we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we took lunch at Bistro Moulin.
Bistro Moulin, Monterey
The restaurant is just one block uphill from the aquarium, a short walk. It was surprisingly quiet in the restaurant that day, so we had the full attention of the wait staff. They were very helpful and accommodating with our needs.
When we walked in the restaurant, we found that half of it opened up into a wine boutique. Wines from all regions of France were represented here, at decent prices. Our wine loving friend, impressed with the selection, was enticed to pick up a couple of bottles.
Wine Boutique inside Bistro Moulin
Their menu selection was equally as enticing. It was a hard decision, but I opted for one of the specials of the day, the Salad Niçoise. It came with a large mound of tuna atop salad greens, tomatoes, eggs, two types of olives, and capers for a delightfully salty bite. It was dressed with a light vinaigrette.
Salad Niçoise from Bistro Moulin
Annie got the Moules Frites, Steamed Mussels with shallots and leeks in a Sauvignon-herb broth. These mussels were perfectly cooked. So tender the melted in your mouth. The broth was simply amazing.
Steamed Mussels from Bistro Moulin
The other half of the order was the pommes frites (frenched fried potatoes). Not only were these fries done just right, but they came with a heavenly aioli. The aioli’s garlicky goodness was so addictive!
Pommes Frites from Bistro Moulin
As an appetizer, our friends ordered this Spinach Gnocchi au Gratin. These gnocchi were unlike any I had ever experienced – these pillows of potato were so light, they were like clouds in my mouth. I would have to say that these gnocchi are the standard by which I will measure any other gnocchi hereafter.
Spinach Gnocchi au Gratin from Bistro Moulin
Our friends ordered this Roasted Chicken Breast with peas and carrots in a wonderful red wine sauce. Nice, light, and very well executed.
Roasted Chicken Breast from Bistro Moulin
They also ordered this Osso Buco Milanese with mushrooms and polenta. The husband cleaned the plate, including the marrow inside the bones.
Osso Buco Milanese from Bistro Moulin
We were quite stuffed by the end of the meal, but the staff managed to convince us to get a couple of the desserts. Boy, were we glad we did! This chocolate mousse was so simple yet so profound in its lightness and chocolatey-ness
Chocolate Mousse from Bistro Moulin
The best dessert, though was the crème brûlée. Delicious burnt caramel crust gave way to smooth vanilla bean custard. Not cloyingly sweet like some crème brûlée I’ve had in the past. A great way to end a great meal.
Crème Brûlée from Bistro Moulin
The final bill was decent for the high quality of food and service that we got. We were quite happy by the time we left. So much so that our friends went back the next day!
Thanks, Andrea, for this wonderful recommendation!
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