A Restaurant Milestone.
Bistro Riviere opened five years ago, quite an accomplishment as most new restaurants don't survive anywhere near that long. So congratulations to this pleasant restaurant on its anniversary in the heart of the thriving village of Erin. Thriving indeed as it me took a while at 1:00 P.M. on a Wednesday afternoon to find a parking place. I was welcomed as I stepped in and escorted to a banquette seat across the pleasantly decorated dining room with its sunny saffron-colored walls and your basic black restaurant furniture. One unusually hospitable note, there’s small cushions strategically placed along the banquette seating providing a little extra comfort for guests. Kudos to the owners for their unique and thoughtful touch. My server delivered a menu and graciously asked if I wanted her to describe the daily specials. I agreed and thankfully was only subjected to her reading to me that the soup of the day was Cream of Tomato and there was a salad featuring a grilled filet of rainbow trout with a variety of accompanying blandishments including wasabi. The compact menu is well balanced with nine starters, three entrée salads, five typical bistro entrées and a trio of sandwiches. For my lunch I chose the Insalata Sonia and the Curried Mussels as they sounded reasonably unique along with a tasty dark draft ale from Barrie’s Flying Monkey brewery. My salad promptly arrived comprised of crisp mixed greens, oven roasted tomatoes and carrot shreds tossed in balsamic vinaigrette, but missing the advertised snow peas. It was an acceptable salad, but just that. The tomatoes, even roasted, were predictably flavorless. Why bother? Things looked up as soon as the curried mussels arrived. They were simply outstanding! The ample portion was bathed in a well-crafted garlic and curry sauce but topped with more of the forgettable tomatoes. An oven toasted and thinly sliced half baguette provided a medium for sopping up the delicious sauce as no spoon was provided. Bread is better anyway and the extra touch of a few moments in a hot oven substantially enhanced it.. Overall, it is clearly the imaginative and competent cooking that sets this restaurant above most. Service was pleasant and efficient, but I was puzzled by the response to anything I said was either “No worries.” or ”No problem.” and sometimes both. Guests don’t think they give servers worries or problems so why say it? If you're in the area it's well worth giving them a try.