Bistro 400 As Rich as Ever

Bistro 400 in downtown SanTana has a unique advantage over Memphis and Jason's Downtown in trying to nab dinner eaters: it's actually open. Whereas Memphis is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday while Jason's entertains Thursdays through Saturdays, Bistro 400 operates every day except the Lord's día. That's where the lady and I found ourselves last night, famished and looking for booze.

I tend to stay away from Bistro 400, not because of its food--delicious, fancy--or its ever-affable owner, Pierre Something-or-Other, a French-Canadian who spends most of his time in a corner table outside on the patio, laughing it up with friends and greeting eaters as they come inside. Fact is, it's pricey--worth it, but pricey. And decadent to the point of narcolepsy--but I'm getting ahead of the story here.

We went with what Edwin recommended: the G bread, and some shrimp-and-scallop fettuccine. The G bread is the richest appetizer in Orange County--sliced baguettes, buttered, and featuring melted Parmesan on top. If that's not enough, they sit the baguettes in a thick garlic cream sauce that slowly suffocates you. Really, you should only eat one, but desire dictates that you eat three or four. The meal sits well as you eat it...but I'm getting ahead of the story here.

My gal ordered the fettuccine, except vegetarian and with a pesto sauce that popped, so refreshing and zingy it was. My alfredo sauce, on the other hand, was too cheesy, almost as rich as the G bread's near-potage. Saving the fettuccine from becoming a gloppy, logy mess was the freshness of the shrimp and scallop and slivers of dried chiles and sun-dried tomatoes that lent a different kind of juiciness, at once verdant and dessicated the way only these dried suckers can.

Banana Fosters ended the night--light on the caramel and fried crispiness, heavy on ice cream and cream, perfect. Afterwards came the deluge: almost from the moment I sat on the couch to see the Oakland Raiders get pounded, I became drowsy. This has happened the last three times I feasted on Bistro 400's G bread. In Mexican Spanish, there is a word--empachado--that signifies someone is sick from eating too much. It's not food poisoning so much as a literal overdose of richness. Bistro 400 makes you empachado if you're not careful--and you shouldn't be. This morning, I was fine and feasted on the fettuccine leftovers.

A funny thing happened while eating at Bistro 400: I ran into SanTana councilmember Sal Tinajero. I wasn't a fan of his while he served on the SanTana Unified School District Board of Trustees, mostly because he was too much of a Nativo Lopez acolyte. But Sal has distinguished himself in the City Council by being one of two councilmembers not somehow involved in the Renaissance Plan scheme. More importantly, he's a mensch for his work as head of Fullerton High School's forensics team. He stopped by our table and excitedly told us his students just won their first competition in Texas. Congrats to the team!


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