Guam Diner Bytes: Bistro at PIC Guam
We had the opportunity to try out a few of the recently introduced dinner creations at Bistro, one of the island’s premiere casual fine dining destinations. If you arrive just before sunset you will be captivated by the view of Tumon Bay and Two Lover’s Point just over the sprawling verdant waterpark below. Dining at Bistro is always a treat, no matter how many times you visit!
Our server, Annette, welcomed us back and we chatted like old friends about some of our recent episodes with Typhoon Dolphin. She took our beverage orders and gave us an overview of some of the new menu changes. We were about to get a special sampling of appetizers, salads, and desserts selected by Executive Sous Chef Darren Dragon, who had been patiently persistent in getting me here. I am sure glad he was as he and his culinary team at Bistro have created some inspired dishes that astonished us. One of the things you will see on your table is a tray holding Bistro’s famous “homemade” biscuits and dinner rolls. There’s nothing wrong with indulging a little with butter spread on top.
We had decided on our soups, one the traditional signature Lobster Bisque ($6.50) that has a dollop of fresh cream on top, with garlic herb crostini, and the other (my choice) was the Chef’s Soup of the Day ($5.00), which was a fantastic Minestrone! I excitedly told Chef Darren that I could eat that soup all day...it was one of the best I’ve had with a boatload of ingredients with flavors galore!
Our appetizer selection was second to arrive. It was a right-sized combination taster of three popular appetizers, a la “Tapas” if you will. There was Baked Escargot with garlic toast ($12.50); Curry Crab Cake made with blue lump crab on a toasted brioche with mango cilantro relish and a delightful curry aioli sauce($11.50); and Flat Breads with Dip, which paired sun-dried tomato and basil flat breads with baba ganoush, romesco, and caramelized onion dips ($7.50). We appreciated the portioning of the sampler - just enough to satisfy our curiosity. Escargot is a traditional favorite and they keep it real! The crab cake was quite good and enhanced by the tangy sweet mango. I couldn’t decide which I liked better, the curry aioli or the relish - they both were winners. We liked both the baba ganoush and the romesco, which is a Spanish tomato based sauce made with almonds, garlic, bread, roasted red peppers, and smoked paprika. This has a distinct smoky flavor.
Then we were brought two amazing salad creations. The first was the Local Caprese Insalata ($15) made with Breaded fried local eggplant, tomatoes, basil, and fresh marinated mozzarella and balsamic caviar. I don’t know how to describe these caviar other than to say they created a sensation on my palate as they exploded their intense flavor. Well-presented, this dish was crafted to display freshness - the basil and local lettuce. It was a playful dish with salami slices that would meld with the mozzarella and eggplant.
The other salad, the Carpaccio Nicoise Salad ($16), was our favorite. It was made with thinly sliced soy, mirin, garlic, and sake marinated tuna loin with baby mixed salad, soft boiled egg, pickled baby carrot, radish, olives, and sweet potato chips. Every aspect of this salad was carefully constructed for optimum flavor and texture. The crispiness of the potato chip was surprising. The marinated carrot was unusual but delicious. The tuna was divine, however there was one element that was not mentioned on the menu description - it was a chipotle aioli sauce that brought fine points of pika to our mouths! This was awesome yet not for those who can’t handle the heat! Most locals would love this and probably ask for sauce on the side!
The main courses we tried were Grilled Ribeye ($34), featuring a 20 oz. citrus soy marinated Angus Beef Ribeye served with a trio of sauces - green peppercorn, finadene, and creamy gorgonzola; and the Cobia and Shrimp Rigatoni Ala Puttancesca ($21.00), which sauteed both shrimp and cobia in a tangy garlicky Puttanesca sauce. This came with toasted French bread and garnished with fresh basil and a fried parmesan chip. The portions for this dish are ideal - probably one of the most exotic tastes you’ll have - anchovies, olives, garlic, and tomatoes!
The Ribeye’s presentation was fanciful and each element was placed for optimal effect and ease of access. Cute squash buttons were placed like little domes and sliced carrot, cucumber, asparagus stick and cauliflower were all playing a part. The garlic mashed potatoes worked best for me rather than rice. The sauce trio was a nice idea for variety and comparison, however, my favorite was the peppercorn, with the creamy gorgonzola second.
As you can see, we had eaten a lot and then there was dessert! We were brought three of their selection which was a form of divine torture! The first was the Creme Brulee Trio ($8.00), which is a trio sampling of the chef’s daily creme brulee creations (tonight’s flavors were Ube, Vanilla, and Green Tea). Good to at least try these! They are colorful and accented by fresh raspberries and blueberries!
The next dessert was the Baked Chocolate Lava Cake ($8.00). It is served with vanilla ice cream, fresh berries and a drizzling of raspberry coulis (it was absent). This is one of those Valentine’s desserts - it’ll spoil you with its goodness.
The third and last dessert was the killer!! Chocolate Decadence Cake($8.00), which was true to its name!! Filled with hazelnut flavored caramel, topped with a chocolate disc then enrobed with a hot chocolate ganache (and vanilla ice cream). This dessert was definitely the ultimate and pushed all of our pleasure buttons (and the belly button!!)...I really had a hard time stopping. I did have an illy Americano to revive me!
Our Bistro experience was memorable and we were left wanting to return for more...they have a lot of food offerings that will entice and delight you as much as what we experienced - maybe more! You need to come here and find out for yourself!
Ken “The Guam Food Guy” Stewart