Mid City is home to a new restaurant offering what many tourists consider to be the best of both worlds. Located at 3340 Bienville St., Bayou Bistro opened in December 2018 with a specific commitment to bridge the gap between casual and fine dining.
“When tourists come to Bayou Bistro, we like to offer them a gourmet meal with creole flavors and the ambiance of fine dining,” says Eric Gilbert. “We’re casual. Come as you are. But, we’re offering you an ambiance with exquisite dishes that are both unique and original.” Gilbert, who operates as the front house manager and marketer, has worked in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years.
Gilbert backs up the waiters as a server and likes to greet customers to ensure they have a great experience. He says patrons often regard the restaurant as a diamond in the rough.
“We’re new, having only been around a little over a year. We’ve exceeded our expectations and love being affiliated with a diamond.”
The highly recommended, and often requested signature menu item is their seafood dip, a dish consisting of crabmeat, crawfish tails, and shrimp, blended with multiple cheeses, topped with parmesan and served with tortilla chips.
“It melts in your mouth, and it’s a shareable item for a table of four or five,” says Gilbert.
The restaurant offers a vast array of specialty chicken, seafood and pasta dishes. Tourists may be surprised to find turtle soup on the menu, something not typically offered in casual eateries. Their signature drink, the bayou splash was created to serve as a complement to any dish on the menu. They also provide a number of homemade traditional as well as specialty desserts.
Taking center stage as an entree favorite for the restaurant is the redfish Pontchartrain. Says Gilbert, “Chef takes this dish to a whole new level. It’s a grilled redfish, topped with lump crab meat, blended in a white wine butter sauce, crawfish tails, and gulf shrimp. It comes with zucchini yellow squash and truffled mash potatoes.”
Sidney Montrel is Bayou Bistro’s executive chef. Montrel, whose family name is well known in the New Orleans area, brings close to 30 years of culinary experience. Having been classically trained in French cuisine, Chef Montrel brings his unique blend of style, textures, and flavors to the table. He previously owned his own restaurant in Memphis, before returning home to New Orleans.
Montrel describes his cooking style as ‘rustic’ and believes all great chefs cook from the heart. “Although I’m classically trained in French cuisine, I believe in always going back to your roots. “Ours are soul, African, and Creole,” he says. “Bayou Bistro offers a little of everything. It’s a little bit of Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Monroe, NOLA. It’s a melting pot. You get your veggies. You get your protein. You get your starch.”