Bridge Road Bistro is back, baby, and not just in that the South Hills restaurant recently reopened after a six-month hiatus. It also has its mojo back.
After shutting down at the start of COVID-19, the Bistro took a longer break than most, using that time to revamp the menu and put some finishing touches on last year’s makeover of the bar and its adjacent seating area.
The result is the welcome return of lots of familiar faces at a place I’m sure will remain a neighborhood favorite for many. We celebrated the restaurant’s reopening with a full-blown dining extravaganza over the weekend and enjoyed really strong food and stellar service throughout the evening.
A tightened-up menu offers an appealing blend of old Bistro favorites alongside exciting new dishes. Chef John Wright also has been treating some lucky guests to complimentary amuse-bouche soup “shooters.” I’ve had the pea soup and heirloom gazpacho options with goat cheese foam so far, which have been SO GOOD I hope this becomes a regular thing.
With three bottomless-pit teenage boys in tow, we started with a full round of appetizers, including the restaurant’s popular, fresh-made bistro chips (topped with warm bleu cheese, scallions and bacon) and delicious Thai chicken lettuce wraps stuffed with sesame oil-braised thigh meat bathed in sweet Thai chili sauce with cilantro pearls.
We also loved the creamy Old Bay crab dip with focaccia toasts — my wife swearing it’s the best she’s ever had.
The seared diver sea scallop topped with pepperonatta balsamic pearls were nice, but the parmesan cup they were served in was a little too thick and chewy to make that dish a winner. Also coming up a tad short was the black & bleu sirloin, which was both over-seasoned and over-cooked. But steaks are usually on-point here, and the fried Brussels sprout leaves and cauliflower mash it came with were divine.
Every bite of our remaining four entrées, however, was outstanding.
We devoured the thick, moist wedge of bacon-wrapped BBQ meatloaf with a silky, sultry barbecue glaze; seared salmon atop sweet corn puree (so good!) with roasted heirloom tomatoes and parsley pearls; and the certified angus beef Godmother Burger topped with lettuce, tomato, applewood bacon, bleu cheese and hot wing sauce.
Although it was a surprise to find on a dinner menu, the crab cake eggs benedict with avocado hollandaise, pico di gallo and home fries would be a hit any time of day.
We ended our eating extravaganza with a fantastic slice of carrot cake, a nice flourless chocolate cake, crème brulee, Grand Marnier ice cream and pumpkin spice cheesecake.
On follow-up visits, I’m really looking forward to trying the local banana peppers stuffed with Italian sausage marinara, chicken wings with smoked peach glaze and sliced jalapenos, and a filet with herb-roasted fingerling potatoes, garlic chips, asparagus and port wine demi. I hear people are losing their minds over the blackened shrimp tacos with shredded red cabbage, cotija cheese and ancho yogurt sauce, so those will be on my list, too.
And I’m really intrigued by a lineup of “Boujee Burgers,” including the French onion burger, a Little John topped with stuffed banana peppers and provolone, a lamb burger with feta and house-made tzatziki, plus a few others.
Lots of good choices mean lots of return visits for me. And with Howard and Dave back mixing things up behind the bar, it’s a great spot to enjoy drinks and (eventually) the return of live music as well.
IF YOU GO: Bridge Road Bistro, 915 Bridge Road in Charleston, is currently open from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday and 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 304-720-3500, visit www.thebridg eroadbistro.com or visit the restaurant’s Facebook page.