Opening quietly just over two weeks ago, Le Bilboquet has confidence that can only come from experience, which makes sense, since the restaurant is actually a transplant from the Upper East Side in New York City. The original in New York is expanding, and expanding quite far to boot, since it's made it all the way to Dallas. I'm told a lot of the original has been reproduced for the new, Texan location, including a replica of the bar and a menu featuring French dishes like la terrine de foie gras maison and le risotto aux champignons.
Le restaurant The inside of the former L'Ancestral space on Travis Street is light, bright and not too showy -- save for the $400,000 original Matisse that hangs between two pieces worth half that much, each. Despite that, and the fact that a number of the main courses are priced above the $30 mark, the dress is not formal, but more of what you'd expect to see at a Highland Park bistro at brunchtime. Most of the diners were, by my own deduction, from Highland Park, in fact, enjoying a night out in the town just south of that. Thus, the vibe was friendly and classy, but not too stuffy. I didn't spot a single thirtythousandaire.
Le food The menu features starters, soups and salads, priced between $9 and $21. Main dishes of fish, foul and farm were in the $20s to mid-$30s range, and desserts were around $8 each. On this warm June night, my dining companion and I enjoyed a bright and spicy tomato gazpacho followed by cold poached salmon, the veal scaloppini and finally the tarte tatin and two cappuccinos. According to our server, the restaurant is booked solid for the next two weeks, so perhaps try to snag a table after that. In addition, we snuck a peek at le brunch menu, and it looks both French and promising.
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Le Bilboquet is located at 4514 Travis St., Suite 124, in Uptown.