By RICHARD DAVID CHAMBERLAIN
There once was a Labrador Retriever named Bailey. While Baily died a little over a year ago at the ripe old age of 17, rumor has it that this faithful pet provided the kind of unconditional love that gives the dog breed its reputation as friendly, energetic, good-natured, and smart. You can add to that “wellmeaning,” ‘cause occasionally a Lab will tramp through the garden, root through the garbage or otherwise make a mess of things, while all the while giving you that “I’m really, really sweet” look that insists on forgiveness.
So too is it with Bailey’s Bistro, the new restaurant named after the aforementioned Lab. Able to feed about 40 in comfort, this small and feisty bistro had been open for several months before its recent Grand Opening party a few days back. The place was packed with mostly gals who all seem to know one another and the two female co-owners, and from the noise level being generated—this group knows a great party when they find one.
The menu is basic bistro food, with everything prepared with organic ingredients to order. Translation: expect a wait for the food, and expect it to be harvest fresh. There’s a small bottledbeer menu; an even smaller wine list; and bottled soda and water. The house specialty is sirloin tips. You’ll find it in its Sirloin Tip Marinade ($14), a tasty tender portion served over housemade mashed potatoes, and includes a side salad or soup, plus beans, broccoli or corn. (A lunch portion is $10 without a side dish).
The sirloin tips are back in the bistro’s excellent Hot Cheese Steak Sandwich ($7) with grilled onions, green peppers, mushrooms and cheese (a choice of provolone or mozzarella). Making this entrée extra tempting is the side of housemade potato chips….very crispy and very good. Less exciting is the Turkey Sandwich ($7). While the turkey tasted freshroasted, there wasn’t enough of it to really tell. Ditto, the Italian Sub ($7) with a minimum of Genoa salami, capicota, proschutto and provolone. A foot-long from Subway, this ain’t. The most expensive dish on the menu is the $16 Beef Stroganoff.
We’re Stroganoff fans and would give the version served at Bailey’s Bistro an A for effort, but a C for taste. While the cream sauce is wonderfully flavorful, there’s simply too much of it in proportion to the sirloin beef. We were impressed by the inclusion of Shepherd’s Pie on the menu. At $13, it’s one of Bailey’s best bargains as well as its biggest mystery. Classic Shepherd’s pie is a ground lamb dish. Here the selection is made with ground sirloin (with corn and beans) and topped with mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese. That would officially make is a Cottage Pie in anyone’s cookbook.
Call it what you will, it’s an excellent choice, particularly if you’ve got a hearty appetite. The walls at Bailey’s Bistro are hung with musical instruments—all played by the place’s co-owner Kelly, occasionally on the stage set on the sidewalk side of the restaurant, from which karaoke belts every Friday night.
On Saturdays, Bailey’s is home to various live performances, with the stage available to local musicians who care to have a venue for their talents. Bailey—the lab—has its portrait hung front and center on the north wall, in memory of the Bistro’s namesake. The lab has been replaced by another rescue these days, a mix known as Mocha.
Tell him the Agenda sent you.
BAILEY’S BISTRO 2037 Wilton Drive Wilton Manors, FL 33305 954-533-3252