Bistro Jeanty Review
Yountville, CA 94599
Open daily from 11:30am-10:30pm
Bistro Jeanty is your best bet if you're looking for rustic French. Some of the menu items are not usual to the American palate (kidneys, tongue, pigs feet, sweetbreads, snails). But there is plenty there even if you're not the adventurous type. It's perfect if you're hungry and you want a tasty, satisfying meal. Menu names are of course in French which means you can butcher the language, but at least there are English descriptions so you don't have to go so low as to grunt and point at the menu.
Bistro Jeanty food
The escargots is probably our favorite Bistro Jeanty appetizer. The snails come blazing hot in an olive oil-butter parsley sauce that is also a great dipping sauce for your bread, and they're just pretty to look at to boot.
Their tomato soup in a puff pastry was also terrific although there is probably a stick of butter in that thing (well, not quite. Here's the recipe for Bistro Jeanty's tomato soup in puff pastry from their site)But the pastry is light and flakey, the cream-based tomato soup is piping hot and oh so smooth.
We begin with the mussels. Ah, the mussels.
This dish ("moules au vin rouge") at Bistro Jeanty is the Taj Mahal overlooking the Hanging Gardens of Babylon of mussels. I will say that in general, I like mussels very much. I frequently order mussels when I go out. I have had very good, and sometimes not so good, mussels in my day. But the mussels at Bistro Jeanty are the absolute BEST mussels I have ever tasted. The sauce is a heavenly red wine sauce with butter, shallots, and herbs. The dish comes with a hunk of grilled bread for sopping up this sauce that I would otherwise consume with a straw. I forget that I am in public when I have a bowl of this sauce and some bread in front of me. I haven't snarled at or bitten anyone who's come between me and my yummy Bistro Jeanty red-wine mussel sauce, but that's because no one has ever been foolish enough to try. We go to Bistro Jeanty every year on my birthday, and every year, I entertain the idea of getting something other than the mussels, you know, to broaden my horizons and all. And yet, I end every birthday dinner in a blissful, mussel-y stupor, and not a drop of red wine sauce in sight. I think this is the recipe for Bistro Jeanty's mussels.
Pictured below is a really lousy picture of their cassoulet. I have no idea how anybody eats this by themselves as an entree as it's a real load. Baked beans, duck confit, sausage, and a big honking piece of apple smoked bacon baked in a bread crumb crust. It's very delicious and hearty, but also definitely one of those dishes that begs to be shared unless you want to wheel out the sole eater in a wheelbarrow.
Another dish of note is the coq au vin. It is also very hearty and very delicious. The weird thing is that they suggest on the menu that that the coq au vin goes well with their macaroni side dish. So why not include it as part of the dish to begin with? Or maybe I'm just peeved that I had to cough up an extra $5 or $6 bucks for the 3-cents worth of macaroni. Either way, the coq au vin is quite tasty. Other dishes worth your time are the beef stew (daube de boeuf) and the pork chop. Again, this is not diet food, but it is absolutely delicious, and definitely worth a side-trip if you are in the area.
Ham and leek quiche below. Little bit of vegetation there to offset the super cheesy, buttery quiche.
The desserts are typical French desserts, and generally very good. You should definite save room. Crepes suzette, tarte tatin, chocolate mousse creme brulee, etc. There is a bread pudding as an addition to the menu sometimes that is worth trying if it's available.
Pictured below is the tarte tatin with a bit of fresh cream. One of their tastier desserts although I guess anything caramelized in butter and sugar on top of a buttery, flaky puff pastry is going to taste pretty good.
This is a cherry clafouti that was a special and also delicious. Very soft and puffy on the inside with the in-season cherries and the vanilla gelato on top.
Bistro Jeanty is easily one of our favorite restaurants in the area because it's one of the few restaurants in the area that takes a defined point of view that others lack. "We're rich, hearty, rustic, and French. Deal with it."
Bistro Jeanty setting and service
It looks like a French bistro. The front section of the restaurant has a large community table and front bar if you're looking for a quick seat and don't mind the conversation. The other half of the front section has a small set of dining tables, and then there's the larger second eating area in the back. The lighting is subdued, though the restaurant can get a little loud sometimes, especially if you are on the side of the restaurant where the bar is. The wait staff is competent and mature. They do their job, and leave you to enjoy your meal. You should definitely get reservations as it can fill up quickly, and nobody is in any particular rush to leave.
Price of the meal
Appetizer, 2 entrees, 2 glasses of wine, 1-2 desserts = $100-$120
(not including trip to heart surgeon)