Is it shameless to review the lovely, upscale bistro that my boyfriend lovingly took me to for our first anniversary? Maybe so, maybe so, but food is my life and no occasion is too sacred for my pen and journal. Besides, the long and short of it is I loved Cafe Bizou and I think that deserves a mention, despite capitalizing on my relationship. Boyfriend is used to it. That’s why he loves me.
Like most of great Pasadena eateries, this place stands off but adjacent to the main drag of Colorado Boulevard. It has this nutty early-20th century Cabaret kind of decor, with framed chic European Disney posters. Service was impeccable.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Boyfriend’s Thoughts: While he enjoyed it, Boyfriend is used to a creamier texture with more chicken and tortilla strips. Otherwise, it was very good.
French Onion Soup
My Thoughts: Oh,YUM! I only trust myself and establishments that take their food seriously to make an adequate, let alone stellar, French Onion Soup. It’s a delicate balance of seasoning and picking the right cheese that makes or breaks this soup. Cafe Bizou knocked it out of the park, which is a lovely make up for my favorite French place having a bad batch the last time I patronized their establishment. I would come to Cafe Bizou just for a bowl of this soup (though it would be difficult to resist ordering more).
Lobster Tails and Shrimp
Order: Slipper lobster tails and shrimp with mushroom risotto, green beans and a red wine lobster sauce.
Boyfriend’s Thoughts: Incredible! He could have easily devoured two orders of this, and I don’t blame him. The shellfish is cooked just right, no trace of amateur rubbery texture. The risotto was a compliment, letting the seafood be the star while still able to stand out on its own flavors. The green beans were just a touch of green and offering a nice variety in texture.
Monkfish over Shrimp Risotto
Order: Monkfish served on saffron shrimp risotto with green vegetables (snow peas) and fried carrots in lobster sauce.
My Thoughts: I was debating falling back on seafood pasta, while tasty sounding, was predictable for me. Determined to try something new, and recalling my few favorable moments with monkfish, I went for this dish and never once regretted it. The monkfish was thick and meaty, and the shrimp risotto surprisingly cheesy and rich. I wanted to lick up the lobster sauce, or at least beg for more ala Oliver Twist. I don’t know if we’d be welcomed back if I did that, though. It ought to be noted that while the fried carrots were tasty, they are awkward to eat.
Order: Tiramisu with strawberry sauce.
Boyfriend’s Thoughts: Tiramisu is Boyfriend’s favorite dessert. Woe is the business that falls short on this Italian treat. Thankfully, Cafe Bizou stands tall. There wasn’t a great deal of espresso flavor, which may irk some but delighted us as espresso can drown out the rest of the dessert. It was creamier, with contrasting flavors in a shallow bed of vanilla and strawberry sauce.
Order: Bread pudding with Belgium chocolate, caramel sauce and topped with vanilla bean ice cream.
My Thoughts: I am to bread pudding what tiramisu is to Boyfriend. One could argue that a lady should share her dessert, but to this I say, then a lady cannot truly live life. This moist confectionery was an exercise in decadence, the chocolate a burst of lusciousness planted throughout the dense pudding, like little mines of chocolate bombs. The ice cream, while a nice touch, I could go either way with, but the caramel I could never part with. I fear should I return to Cafe Bizou I would not be able to order anything else!
91 North Raymond Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91103