January 29, 2007
As usual my birthday celebration lasted the better part of a week, with the high light being a romantic dinner at Bistro 45 in Pasadena, with my special someone. It has one of the most extensive wine lists I have seen in Southern California. It was voted “Best Restaurant for Wine Lovers by Wine Spectator 1992 – 2006”. I want to add that the wine pricing was amazing with offers in all price ranges. We selected a 2003 Duckhorn Merlot and it was exquisite!
The menu has something for everyone and of course there were several specials. The “Tomba Tuna” and signature “Composed Salad of Baby Red & Oak Leaf Lettuces French feta, strawberries & Cabernet dressing”, AKA Strawberry salad were both divine. I especially loved the tuna, prepared seared on top of marinated yellow beets. Who would have thought! This tuna was white, not like the Ahi you see at most restaurants. We enjoyed Mumm Napa Brut by the glass with these selections.
I chose the Roasted Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast, with an amazing honey infused demi glaze. Surprisingly the duck was served medium rare and tasted perfect. The only thing missing was that layer of perfectly crusty and crunchy skin that is usually atop most duck breast dishes, but the flavors were so amazing I didn’t miss it that much! A mascarpone risotto was served with the duck, light and creamy, a perfect complement! My dinner partner had the roasted beef tenderloin, which was flavored and cooked perfectly; melted in your mouth. The wine selection paired perfectly with our entrees, and the “Black White and Orange” dark chocolate bombe tasted amazing with the merlot too!
The service was impeccable with someone stopping by the table often enough, but not so much as to be annoying, to make sure our dining experience was perfect. We sat on the covered and heated patio; I was concerned that it would be too cold as it was raining! However the temperature was cozy, and I would not worry at all about patio dining here, there wasn’t even a draft on my feet.
I would vote for this as a special occasion restaurant, especially for someone who loves to pour over a wine list (no pun intended). I want to try the Sea Bass Bouillabaisse next time we are there, can’t wait to look for a wine pairing for that!
Bistro 45 45 S. Mentor Ave in Pasadena, CA (626) 795-2478
Top Thirty Restaurants in Southern California 1994 - 2005" Zagat Survey"
"Top Ten Restaurants and Wine Lists in L.A." Wine Spectator"
"Top 100 Restaurants in Nation" Conde Nast Traveler"