Nighttime at Stonebridge Manor in Mesa is reserved for formal, black-tie events, but the property takes on a different persona in the daytime as a bistro restaurant serving simple fare.
At Bistro à la Mode, as the name implies, the menu changes daily with a few exceptions. The options can mostly be put into three tidy categories: salads, sandwiches, and sides. And from what we saw of the week’s lineup of dishes, what Bistro à la Mode aim to do is take approachable ingredients and prepare them in fresh way.
We tried the salmon salad niçoise, a variation of the classic French niçoise salad that Bistro à la Mode served with green beans, red potatoes, black olives, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and cucumber. The main question we had when the salad was set in front of us though was, "Where is the hard-boiled egg?" An integral ingredient of any traditional niçoise salad, and one of our favorite parts, it was sorely missed. The salmon was also served in paltry chunks and lacked flavor, and while the dressing was alright, it didn't have the kick of Dijon mustard flavor we expected. Overall, though the ingredients were fresh and clean, as an entrée the salmon niçoise salad lacked substance.
Every day Bistro à la Mode offers some variation of a grown up grilled cheese, and on the day we visited the rendition was a play on beef wellington. The sandwich married a filet of steak with some slices of Swiss cheese, all of which came snuggled up between a sliced croissant to produce a very luxurious sandwich. It was probably the best of all the entrée dishes we had at Bistro à la Mode. The nuttiness of the Swiss cheese paired very nicely with the well-cooked beef. The croissant was buttery, and though the dish left our fingers shiny from the butter and cheese, it was the inevitable price to pay for such a decadent dish. The side of macaroni and cheese would satisfy those who enjoy more soft and pillowy textured mac. But for us the noodles could have had some more bite, both in texture and flavor.
The chef’s special for the day was a carne asada and salsa fresca sandwich served on a cornmeal bun — and we thought the cornmeal bun really brought the dish into its own. It was essentially like having two dense pieces of cornbread that soaked up all the meat and salsa juices and still stayed very well intact. The beef was not quite tender to the bite, and the salsa fresca, while it was fresh tasting, was definitely overshadowed by the very welcomed addition of avocado spread.
Where Bistro à la Mode seems to have a seriously good thing going is its pastries and desserts. There were a fair amount of dessert options offered over the course of the week, but on this particular day the selections were a warm candied apple danish and a caramel apricot pie. On recommendation of our waitress, we ordered the warm candied apple danish, which came with a ramekin of lemon mousse. The danish had a perfectly flaky crust and a pleasantly sweet flavor, accentuated by the similarly light and sweet lemon mousse. The warm filling, akin to an apple pie, was mellow and made for a perfectly portioned end to the meal.
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The next time we visit Bistro à la Mode, we may forego the full meal and instead fill our table with the fresh baked pastries and desserts…all the desserts.
Bistro à la Mode
4012 E Palm St