Denver may be 4889 miles from the Place Vendôme in Paris, but Bistro Vendôme is serving up little tastes of Paris right from Larimer Square.
Decor: A Room With A View
With a decor that harkens back to the city’s humble bistros, Bistro Vendôme is full of charm. While I’m certainly not a fan of the “outdoors inside” façades that have become ever-so-popular at faux-french establishments like The Paris Las Vegas, there is something charming about the way Bistro Vendôme has laid out its atrium. It’s reminiscent of Parisian passages, covered walkways installed by Haussmann between 1830 and 1920.
Diners can sit in the atrium or in the dimly-lit bistro with windows to its faux-outside. The bistro ambiance is romantic, if not humbly understated with cozy un-covered wood tables packed into corners and up against walls. Larger groups sit around large round tables, perfect for sharing bottles of wine and conversation.
Entrée, Plat, Dessert: The Menu
The food is exquisite. Bistro Venôme’s menu offers everything from French haute cuisine (filet d’agneau, steak tartare) to more casual bistro fare (moules, steak frites).
The moules (mool – mussels) are a meal in and of themselves. A heaping bowl comes in a garlic white wine broth that takes me back to a lunch or two on the pedestrian streets by the Chatêlet Metro stop in Paris.
Other menu favorites include the steak tartare (tahr-TAHR), foie gras (fwah GRAH), filet d’agneau (feel-AY dan-Yo – lamb), and the classic crème brûlée (crehm broo-LAY).
The wine selection is diverse and changes regularly. On Monday nights, Bistro Vendôme changes out some of their older bottles for newer flavors, allowing diners to purchase last menu’s selection at anywhere from 20 – 50% off.
The price ranges also very from incredibly affordable ($30-45) to splurge ($100-300), but even the lower range bottles are well selected (and French!). A nice full bodied Côtes du Rhône is a great bargain wine that wont set you back much at the liquor store or, luckily, Bistro Vendôme.
The full dining experience with wine and entrees for two might set you back $70 – 100, but don’t be afraid to stop by for a taste. The bar and patio are warm and welcoming and the appetizers (ironically called “entrées” in French) will only set you back $6 – 15.
I have very fond memories of stopping by Au Pied du Cochon, a high-end parisian restaurant, just for a bowl of French onion soup when I couldn’t afford anything else.
In a world often far too consumed by pretentious menus and overzealous pricing, Bistro Vendôme reminds us that French cuisine is often about the simple pleasures and humble tastes shared with great friends in a cozy city corridor, hidden from the hustle and bustle of the outside.