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Bistrot Massilia: Butter Up!

Yorba Linda's hidden gem is good any day of the week you want French, but better on weekends

You realize the futility of having a reservation for Bistrot Massilia on the Thursday night before Mother's Day weekend when you get there. There's not a soul except for the lonely waiter, who's so happy to see you he bounds from the back of the restaurant to meet you at the door.

"You have zee restaurant to yourself tonight!" he chirps brightly with no shortage of energy. "Please choose any seat you like, perhaps by zee window?" He bows, then sweeps his arm to show you the way (you half-expect him to leap and click his heels). He follows as you walk through the empty chamber, past dozens of flickering LED-candle-lit tables and a cozy little cubbyhole of a booth seemingly dug out of the red-painted wall. You shimmy around a small grand piano and notice the sign atop it says the jazz musician plays only on Friday and Saturday nights, presumably when diners are here.

You choose your seats at a table overlooking a courtyard, thinking to yourself that, coupled with the fact that most of its customers are probably saving their fine-dining dollar to spend on mom on Sunday, when it counts, Bistrot Massilia isn't a Thursday-night kind of a place. As with almost all French restaurants, going here is something you reserve for commemorating an anniversary or popping the question. A weeknight when you still have work tomorrow is too ordinary an evening for what you're about to eat, drink and pay for.

Um . . . merçi!
Josue Rivas
Um . . . merçi!
Sacre bleu!
Josue Rivas
Sacre bleu!
Oo-la-la!
Josue Rivas
Oo-la-la!

Location Info

Map

Bistrot Massilia

4965 Valley View Ave., Ste. C
Yorba Linda, CA 92886

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: Yorba Linda

Details

Bistrot Massilia, 4965 Valley View, Ste. C, Yorba Linda, (714) 993-1681; www.bistrot-massilia.com. Open Tues.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. & 5-9 p.m.; Fri., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Dinner for two, $40-$80, food only. Beer and wine.

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It must be said that Massilia's prices aren't exorbitant, but they're not cheap either. There are $30 bottles of wine, but you could easily spend as much as six times that on others, including a $174 Chateau Leoville Poyferre that's described as having "scents of sweet soil with herbs." As such, you shouldn't go with a monetary budget—or even a caloric one—in mind. At the very least, you need to allow yourself to sponge up every drop of the melted butter the escargot come swimming in. The half-dozen snails—dark, chewy, shriveled-up morsels tasting as though they were revived from the icy depths—are the best excuses to do so. And when you do, try to not think about how you've just eaten the equivalent of a stick of butter as though it were soup.

For actual soup, don't opt for the "du jour," which the waiter recites with measured enthusiasm; go for the French onion. Baked Gruyère cheese seals the top of the crock pot tighter than a drum. And when you pierce the gooey, cheesy toast crust, a plume of steam shoots up, as would a long-dormant volcano ready to wake up. You blow on each spoonful so you don't scald yourself, and then sip what turns out to be one of the most complex, well-designed French onion soups in the county. The broth is rich and beefy but cut by the shrill tang of white wine, onions liquefied to sugary slips and whole peppercorns that explode without warning.

And since you've gone this far down the Gallic route, don't order the cheaper pasta plates the restaurant calls "les pates"; go for broke with filet mignon doused in a porcini mushroom cream sauce—the most expensive dish at nearly $30. You excuse the fact it comes out well-done with barely any pink in it (even though you asked for it to be prepared medium) or that the vegetable side is a bifurcated baby bok choy, the cheapest green in existence; instead, you marvel at that sauce as you drag some of the mashed potatoes through the puddle—after you've finished dabbing it onto the last of the steak, of course. You even decide you like the bok choy because, well, it's been bathed in butter. In fact, it actually tastes better than the small serving of mushy ratatouille, which was included on the plate as an afterthought.

You look across the table to see your date is happy with the salmon, the one the waiter recommended over the trout with almonds. You see her lap up the tangy lemon-butter emulsion with the fish, but also notice she's using it to moisten the side of red-tinged rice that's otherwise dry where it isn't clumped in the shape of its cylindrical mold.

For dessert, don't order just the crème brûlée, the chocolate mousse or the profiterole; order all three in a dessert sampler because the restaurant gives you that option for an extra $1.50. And when you go home with your lips still greased with butter and your teeth stained by chocolate and wine, the satisfaction that comes with the meal you just ate will make it feel as though tomorrow's the weekend.

 
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1 comments
alisonkay2000
alisonkay2000

I really, really hate to leave negative reviews.  In fact I've only posted positive reviews on Yelp and kept the rest to myself.  But.....since my husband and I dined at Bistrot Massilia on May 11th, two days after Edwin's review, I feel I must share my/our review.  

It was Saturday night and we were celebrating our wedding anniversary one day early due to Mother's Day being the next day.  (Didn't want to co-mingle the two).  Only two or three tables were occupied and the wait staff were very friendly.

We wanted to start with the mussels, but the waiter said they were out.  My husband was shocked- "It's 6:30 on Saturday night and you're already out of mussels???"  (They open at 5:30).   Mais oui.  So I ordered the onion soup and he ordered the romaine salad.  He said the salad was alright but I thought the soup was so-so.  I couldn't get past the thought that it tasted like it had Heinz 57 sauce in it.  For an entree I ordered the black cod special and he ordered the au boeuf, which is fettuccine with beef pieces. 

Unfortunately, we could smell my black cod coming from three tables away.  After the waiter set it down and left my husband and I just looked at each other, stunned.  He said he couldn't enjoy his food because the odor was so bad.  I told him to just let me give it a try hoping the smell would dissipate.  The fish was barely cooked and tasted like gelatin.  We had to ask the waiter to take it away.  He told us that the odor was typical for black cod.  (Not). 

I decided to try the duck instead.  But guess what........You got it, they are out of duck as well.  So we decided to get out of Dodge and have hubby's dinner boxed up.  (Not so great the next day).

Mind you, we are not picky eaters.  In fact, we are quite congenial..  But I'm sorry Edwin, sorry Vincent, sorry nice waiter.  Yorba Linda still needs good food nearby.  

Up next......Wild Artichoke.




 
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