The Bistro

The Bistro restaurant, part of the new Cloudveil hotel on Center Street in downtown Jackson.

Decor may not be everything in a restaurant, but the right setting adds to the experience of a dinner out.

With big windows, a section of street-front outdoor tables and a black-and-white themed interior, The Bistro has a bright European-American feel to it that isn’t quite like anything else in Jackson Hole. And with its location off Town Square it has a different kind of buzz than its popular predecessor, the recently closed Rendezvous Bistro in West Jackson.

The Bistro, set inside The Cloudveil on Center Street, has been open for only a few weeks but is hardly waiting to be discovered. When two us of arrived for dinner at 5:30 p.m. Sunday we were seated at a high-top table in the already busy bar. Over the course of the next hour the other bar tables and those in the dining room and outside filled up.

“The prices are not outrageous at all,” was my friend’s first comment about the French bistro-inspired menu.

And it’s true: You could spend big at The Bistro or stick to a budget and still enjoy a good meal.

Hors d’oeuvres, for example, range from $10 for French onion soup or $12 for house-made boudin blanc sausage, to $15 for tuna Nicoise carpaccio and $15 for shrimp croquettes. Entrees on the regular menu start at $16 for a croque madame and $17 for a Bistro burger and go up to $42 for steak au poivre or $35 for New Zealand lamb chops. Vegetarians, your entree options include ricotta pillows or a grilled cauliflower steak.

Because our meal had a purpose, this article, we sampled most sections of the menu except the raw bar. After cocktails — a spicy margarita and a fruity martini — we chose a starter that seemed just the right thing for two people to share: the charcuterie, featuring sausage by Bovine + Swine, which like the restaurant is part of the Fine Dining Restaurant Group family, plus pate. Yum.

We split a chicory salad of grilled endive and radicchio, kumquats, pine nuts and sour cherry vinaigrette, and agreed it was something we’d have again. It was one of five salads on the menu.

My friend enjoyed the moules frites — mussels with french fries. I became a fan of the Tandoori salmon, which came with Israeli couscous and was topped with a Greek yogurt sauce. We also split the sauteed greens, one of five options among the plats d’accompagnement.

With a meal like that, dessert would seem to be a bit of overkill, but in the spirit of experimentation we forged ahead and ordered the beignets. Surprise: Rather than little pillows the Bistro’s versions are more like breadsticks. They come with two dipping saurces and are delicious.

Make yourself a reservation and check out The Bistro. If you decide last minute to just drop in on a day when it’s already full you can order drinks and small plates in the posh Cloudveil lobby.

Contact Jennifer Dorsey at jennifer@jhnewsandguide.com or 732-5908.

Jennifer Dorsey is chief copy editor and Business section coordinator. She worked in Washington, D.C., and Chicago before moving to the Tetons.

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