This is a post we are very excited about sharing with you as Nancy and I had one of our best experiences thus far when we stumbled across ‘Le Petit Bistrot’ as we were meandering our way through the inner city of Montpellier. If you have been following our blog you know by now that you will get less “sights/historical” impressions and lots of food and drink highlights.
We were drawn right away to the cute and secluded little restaurant, and I mean little as Le Petit Bistro sits about 15 people max and most all of that is outside. When we squeezed our way into the actual building we were greeted by a very polite, busy person and were told it would be about a half hour before we could be served…the delicious smells wafting from the place made us not hesitate in staying one bit. As we eagerly grabbed the only outdoor table for two that was not even cleared yet from the last patron, I thought to myself “there was only one person working in that tiny kitchen, is he doing everything himself?….yes, he was!” And that person is Chef/Owner, Nicholas, or maybe a better title of superhuman gastronomique extraordinaire! Nicholas is a one man show, he does everything; chef, waiter, bartender, dishwasher, bus boy and maître d. As we sat sipping on our glass of wine each, we watched as he catered to the two tables next to ours totaling 13 people, we now made it 15, house full! We had looked over the menu of the day on the chalkboard and pretty much had decided what we were going to have and as we watched the table right next to us being served, we could tell by looking at the plates he was bringing out it was going to be something great and also beautifully presented.
Nancy ordered the chicken ‘Emince de Poulet et la ratatouille fagon crumble’ which was prepared very well with lots of flavor, Nicholas brought a jar of sweet paprika to the table recommending it be sprinkled on the chicken which enhanced the flavor even more. Nancy’s dish also came with a side serving of ratatouille topped with a delightful warm, fluffy cheese. My choice was the gourmet sample plate featuring a taste of all 3 offerings for the day. In addition to the same chicken dish Nancy had, my plate included Duck Pie ‘Effiloche de Parmentier de Canard’ and Lentils with Scallops. Everything was prepared perfectly with complex, interesting flavors and beautifully plated. What made the meal taste even better was knowing that this one person, Nicholas, did it all by himself. Not to mention that in between cooking all of his guests meals he washed dishes, served espresso and desserts and settled up everyone’s bills – I think he should get a commercial contract with 5 Hour Energy Drink or The Energizer Bunny! After our meal Nancy and I shared Nicholas’s sampler dessert plate that consisted of; crème brulee, apple crisp and molten chocolate cupcake, all mini sized and super cute and very tasty – a mini espresso was present too.
We had such a memorable experience at Le Petit Bistrot, if you ever find yourself in Montpellier, France, then you need to put this dining experience on your list. The atmosphere was so pleasing and we really enjoyed and appreciated the eclectic music mix Nicholas had playing and at just the perfect volume. Having spent many years myself working in the restaurant business I know how demanding and tiring it can be, and that’s working with a full support staff, this chef gets a serious feather in his cap for doing it all by himself and doing it extremely well!