Cibo Bistrot

Cibo Bistrot was recommended to me by Christophe at Chez Maître Pierre (my favorite boulangerie).  It didn’t take long to learn that when he starts talking about restaurants he likes, especially the ones he’s enthusiastic about, that it’s time to go eat really good food. Cibo was no exception.

It’s a small, primarily Italian restaurant–a local place, Christophe told me, with consistently excellent pasta. Linguini with baby clams and a touch of heat from red pepper flakes. Carbonara that reminds me of what my mother used to make, only better. Sometimes with the carbonara, the chef will swap out the pasta, toss in some asparagus or artichokes and it’s all great!

But let’s start at the beginning. Baked Camembert fondue is more than enough for 4 to share (which will please your cardiologist and give you room to enjoy the main courses). Hot, runny, to be smeared on toasted rounds of baguette (from Maître Pierre) it’s delicious decadence. The carpaccio of beef is equally decadent, studded with Parmesan and slick with good olive oil. It’s shareable too.

For me, the stars at Cibo are the pastas. To begin with, the chef gets really good pasta and it’s always incredibly well cooked. It’s one of very few places where the next time it’s on the menu, I might go for the simple tomato sauce with fresh basil someone was really enjoying at another table the other day.

The menu changes depending on what the chef finds on his daily trips to Italy and if the markets aren’t providing enough great ingredients, it will be lunch only that day–no dinner service.

I’ve had or tasted some of the meat dishes, and they’re generally fine. Steak tartare takes its cues from the carpaccio, with the addition of Parmesan and olive oil to well-seasoned beef. Fish also makes appearances, with a nice grilled swordfish the other day. The only disappointment has been a tasty but very very chewy, bavette (flank steak).

Asparagus and Gorgonzola dolce have been popping up recently, in fabulous gnocchi or with linguini. Either way is good (although the gnocchi are probably my favorite). My friend had the orecchiette with broccoli, a simple dish with the broccoli practically melting into olive oil, garlic, and hint of red pepper.

We’ve never had dessert at Cibo–always too full to do it justice. Maybe this piece will inspire William, the very friendly host, to finally go out and buy a box of decent tea bags, otherwise it’s generally a shot of espresso for everyone to end an excellent meal.


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