When someone mentions Bentonville, Arkansas, the first word that comes to mind is “Wal-Mart.” After eating at Petit Bistro in Bentonville last week, though, now the first thing I think of when someone talks about Wal-Mart country is “that delicious pâté and terrine plate.”
Bentonville isn’t exactly known for fine French food, so I was a little skeptical after finding Petit Bistro on Google; as I drove down North Walton, my mother and I were greeted with this adorable little cobblestone building. We chose patio seating, and I was impressed by the lovely woods area in the back; our waitress told us that deer regularly come by, and my mother and I spotted cardinals and blue jays in the trees.
Mom and I started dinner with the delicious Pâté & Terrine Plate ($12). It was a beautiful presentation accompanied by apricot chutney, cornichons (these resemble pickled cucumbers) and dijon mustard. The foie gras (in the middle…obviously the smallest serving!) was so rich and buttery—amazing stuff.
I tried the Mediterranean Salad ($9) as well. Flavor-wise, it was nothing special. The presentation, however, was beautiful. That deep purple flower made me smile.
For entrées, Mom chose Steak au Poivre ($22) and I got Mussels Basquaise ($18). While I was pretty focused on my amazing mussels, garnished with puttanesca tomatoes in a creamy saffron velouté, I tried a bite of her Kobe beef and it was incredibly tender. Solid, solid choices for a special dinner back in Wal-Mart country.
Petit Bistro has only been open since April, so give them time. I read a few negative reviews regarding portion size (ahem…this is rich French food…trust me, you don’t need any bigger than this!) and indoor seating, but my overall experience was perfect. The executive chef greeted my mother and I when the waitress brought out our food, and the young waitress was extremely knowledgeable about the small, new menu. Mom gave her a few suggestions to relay back to the chef (where’s the onion soup?!), and I managed to bite my tongue about the wine list (why is there an $883 bottle of Chateaus Margaux-Bordeaux on the menu?!).
All I can hope is that when I go back to Bentonville next month (hopefully with Megan, Gina, Peyton and Laura in tow!), Petit Bistro will have introduced a pastry bar—hello, macarons!
If you’re in the Northwest Arkansas area, visit Petit Bistro and let me know what you think of it.
Petit Bistro French Mediterranean Restaurant & Lounge
2702 N. Walton Blvd.
Bentonville, AR 72712
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