It was time for a change in scenery. It seems like I have been sticking far too close to home for the last few weeks so I decided to go across the bay to Fairhope to explore. There are a numbers of restaurants I have been wanting to try out in Fairhope and I've always enjoyed walking around and poking my head in the shops.
|Crawfish Beignets $9.95|
Upon arriving, I decided my first stop is for lunch at R Bistro on Fairhope Avenue. I ordered the crawfish beignets as an appetizer. There wasn't a real description on the menu. It said something along the lines of: you won't be able to get enough of these delicious morsels and served with a corn and tomato tarter sauce. I asked the waitress what exactly it was and her description was much better. The beignets are a lot like big hush puppies. They were light and fluffy but really didn't have any substance. There were about 2 crawfish tails per beignet and I saw what looked like sauteed red pepper in there too. The corn and tomato tarter sauce was a joke. All I tasted was mayonnaise. There were a few chunks of regular tomato in it and no corn at all. It really needed some salt and pepper too. I thought these crawfish beignets was a great take on the hush puppy; but at $10 for an order of three, it was a bit steep. I think if these were smaller and say 7 or 8 per order that had a crawfish tail in each; I would feel as if I would be getting my money's worth.
|Croque Monsieur $10.95|
I ordered the Croque Monsieur for my entree. It's a huge croissant stuffed with ham and gruyere cheese then smothered in a bechamel sauce and broiled served with a small "salad maison." When it came out, I was surprised by the sheer size of this sandwich. I was also wondering about a rather pungent smell coming from my plate. Upon further investigation, I saw that there was some sort of cheese (most likely parmasan) sprinkled on top before it was broiled. That was where the smell was coming from. The sandwich has a good balance of salty and rich. There was a lot of ham and the right amount of gruyere cheese. It didn't take me long to polish the entire thing off.
My little "salad maison" or house salad was made up of baby greens, red onion, diced tomatoes, roasted pecans, feta cheese and drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette. There wasn't much flavor in the dressing. It needed some salt and more balsamic vinegar. What I got tasted more like straight olive oil drizzled over some greens. Unless you get a piece of feta or pecan, there really isn't any flavor in this salad.
|Desserts ranging from $4 to $6|
I seriously considered dessert after browsing the display case. There was carrot cake, pecan pie, creme brulee, lemon meringue and a peanut butter pie that just looked divine. All ranging from $4 to $6. But I resisted temptation and asked for my check instead. What I should have done was get a pie to take home with me after I finished roaming Fairhope. Hindsight is 20/20.
R Bistro is a really small place. The front is a pastry shop and just a few steps pass that is the dining room. Everything is done is really rich, earth tones. There are about 10 tables; most of them four tops. There's one table set up in the middle for six. I don't know how family friendly the restaurant could be since I didn't see one child among the patrons this day. My waitress was very nice. When she learned it was my first time at R Bistro, she brought out samples of the restaurant's signature crawfish gravy and the gumbo. The crawfish gravy was delicious. It's very rich and spicy. I would have ordered it if I wasn't getting an already rich entree. The gumbo was decent but I didn't think it was spectacular. My waitress checked on me several times throughout the meal. Everything came out in a timely manner. I was very happy with the service I received.
For the most part, R Bistro's menu consists of salads and po-boys with a few specialty items. For the regular lunch menu, the specialty items consists of a seafood platter, shrimp and grits and beef stroganoff. I understand that for special events like "Move in the Streets" the restaurant is opened for dinner and there are specials of the night. The entrees are all very reasonably prices. It ranges from $10 to $15 dollars. I would recommend this cozy little restaurant for a quick meal if you're in the area.
R Bistro does not have a website, but they do have a Facebook page. Click here to check it out.