Take-away evaluation: Bistro Burger at Poulet Bleu | Restaurant opinions | Pittsburgh
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CP Photo: Maggie Weaver
The bistro burger
Poulet Bleu was one of the city’s biggest restaurant openings in 2018. It was the first restaurant the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group opened outside of downtown, turning a small building in Lawrenceville into a bright, intimate French bistro.
Many in town were thrilled with the excitement of the new restaurant – especially when they discovered Poulet Bleu’s bistro burger. It was everything I saw on social media. The dish, which was plastered on the Instagram pages by food bloggers, was repeatedly referred to as “new favorite burger”.
I decided it was time to see what this bistro burger was about.
In normal times, the dining room at Poulet Bleu is the perfect place to relax, take refuge in one of the cozy corner stalls, or sit a bar away from the chefs who cook in an open kitchen. But that kind of intimacy isn’t what I’m looking for in the middle of a pandemic, so I went for burgers to take away.
(It felt a little wrong just ordering the bistro burger off the list of otherwise elegant dishes. I could see the Passport to Paris scene, the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movie that I watched repeatedly as a kid, can’t get out of my head: The twins horrify their Parisian chef by sneaking fast food burgers and fries into his kitchen after being equally appalled by the chef’s snail. ”)
There were a few things that caught my eye the moment I opened my takeaway box. Firstly, the sandwich was small compared to what you can get in burger restaurants. No pile of bacon or onion rings that make eating the handheld impossible; It was just the right height for a big bite.
Second was the “American” cheese; The yellow, processed, cheesy goodness oozed from the bun like a waterfall. I love that Poulet Bleu went with what many consider to be the lowest cheeses on offer. It was filling, hearty, and modest, which got the burger out of the “too chic” category that the rest of the restaurant often falls into.
The burger lived up to its hype and a lot more. The patty I had ordered medium infrequent was salted just below the point of being too much; The taste lingers on my tongue with a tangy, hearty taste. Thread-shaped onions added a sour cut to the almost overwhelmingly rich meat, which was further softened by the still crispy salad and the bite of bread and butter pickles. A surprising, strong umami aioli that isn’t on the menu gave me the same taste of a mushroom. The burger finished with a seasoning on the fluffy brioche bun came together seamlessly.
It was paired with french fries, the kind you want to eat in handfuls. They were as thin as the name suggests, which I would normally trade for a thick British style fry. But these were superbly crispy, not too crispy or burned around the edges, perfect with a quick dip in ketchup.
Poulet Bleu’s bistro burger makes the restaurant more accessible. I ate inside, before the pandemic, to absorb the ingredients: slow, methodical service, overpriced entrees that taste better based on the experience, water and wine glasses that never run out. The bistro burger takes these charming but sometimes exaggerated things to the point and makes me feel like I could spend an evening alone at Poulet Bleu with a burger and a glass of wine and feel perfectly where I am.