Bistro 31 Opens in Highland Park Village

Alberto Lombardi's latest creation, Bistro 31, opened yesterday in Highland Park Village, which was built, fittingly, in 1931. The menu specializes in Mediterranean food and includes Italian, Spanish and French dishes, or combinations thereof.

Hitting most points on Foodbitch's 15 classy things list, Bistro 31 offers elegant food in an elegant setting. There are no flat screens to watch the game, nor terse waiters -- actually the staff is great. From the hostess to the bathrooms and every part in between, it's all A-game.

Just off the dining room is an open patio where the trees will soon start blooming twinkle lights (they began hanging them yesterday), creating the magic of a starry Mediterranean night -- except that you're encircled by a parking lot instead of an olive grove. All the same though.

Eric Brandt, formerly of Rosewood Mansion, is at the helm in the kitchen. Menu highlights include escargot with crisp pork belly; a fricassee with trumpet mushrooms and walnut pistou; and a charred tomato soup with Gruyere crouton and torchio pasta (shaped like a torch) with Dungeness crab.

This week they're open only for lunch and dinner and on Saturday and Sunday they'll have also brunch. Next week they'll begin serving breakfast.

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