Finally, we made it to Absinthe Bistro on the Drive tonight. The Everloving bought me a fine birthday dinner.
After seven years in a tiny unsuitable space in the 1200 block, and after their rent doubled, Absinthe recently moved to 952 Commercial. The building was erected in 1963 for Babic Lighting and was separated into two storefronts in the early 2000s. Since then, the 952 space has been occupied by Pane Vero bakery, Adeline’s Restaurant, Cafe Shibuya, Nonna’s Sandwiches, and Joe’s Grill, with long vacancies in between. That doesn’t sound like a great pedigree for a new business location; however, I suspect that Absinthe will break that unlucky streak.
First, the space. They have cleaned and refreshed the place considerably, with white walls and black ceiling and floor. It looks a lot better than it ever has before. The counter/bar has been pushed further back, giving the impression of much more space. A quick peek into the kitchen was very satisfying. The owner told us that it was a joy to have a good size space after the cramped quarters in which they had laboured for seven years.
The tables were elegantly set with simple glassware and candles. And the tables are placed such that, even with the thirty or so diners we saw in the room, it never seemed crowded. The service was extremely friendly and relaxed.
Then there was the food. They have a very short menu: a couple of starters, three mains, and two desserts. The choices change on a frequent basis. We shared a beef carpaccio starter that was beautifully dressed. I had a hanger steak with a mushroom and spinach side in a rich glaze. It was perfectly cooked. The Everloving had the duck cassoulet which she adored. There was excellent bread with perfectly seasoned garlic butter.
We finished by sharing a decadently rich chocolate lava pie with vanilla ice cream. My dessert was served on a Happy Birthday plate complete with candle!
All in all it was a delight. We’ll be saving our pennies for another visit!