Saturday, November 22, 2008


Friday night Julie and I celebrated our 11th anniversary (actually it is today but we have to have Saturday night in-law dinner - my in-law, that is) and decided to try out Bistro 39 in Alhambra.

We got there around 6:30 and the place was empty, except for a couple of people in the bar area. Normally that's a bad sign for a restaurant, but in this case it was still on the early side and I had read mainly positive reviews of the place on the Chowhound Board as well as Yelp, so we decided to take the plunge.

As you can see, we had the place to ourselves. It's a nicely decorated, comfortable and relaxed room where the tables are spread far enough apart so you don't get claustrophobic. That's a plus.

Here's a picture of the menu. I know, you don't care what the cover looks like, what about the menu itself??? They have a web site so you can go check it out.

We started with a Caesar Salad, hold the anchovies, which was quite good except I forgot to take a picture of it. The dressing was just right, although I thought I detected a faint anchovy character in it (which is fine; just don't throw enough in so that it smells like the bait bin on a barge).

Here's what Julie had, the chicken and mushroom crepes. She loved it. I sampled a bite and it was very good.

I had the shortribs, which came boneless and they were also very good.

The chicken and the beef were nice and tender, all the ingredients were fresh and, well, we were happy about it all. Prices are decent for what you get, with most entrees under $20. Right now they are running a one year anniversary special that has soup or salad, a choice of several entrees, and dessert for $19.95.

It's great having a French restaurant in the SGV! Even nicer having a good one that is owned by people who are actually from France. We talked briefly with one of the owners, and we said it was a shame that the place wasn't more crowded. There were three other tables occupied when we left, plus some folks at the bar who were eating.

The owner told us she gets calls and is asked if she speaks Chinese, and no she doesn't. Then we had a chat about how she is very picky about the ingredients and what to look for when buying various foods and how she doesn't add artificial stuff like tenderizers to the meat, etc.

All in all, we had an enjoyable time. The atmosphere was nice and the food was well worth it. We wouldn't hesitate to return.

Oh, and the owners did decide to decorate the back room for the diehard SGV residents who just can't accept a French place in the area:

Tomorrow: the Costco report, of course!

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