It is with great interest that I read Bill Spur’s “Bourgeois Gourmet” restaurant review in the provincial Chronicle Herald newspaper each week. For the most part, I usually agree with his reviews. I was thrilled this week to discover his review was of Bistro 22, a restaurant located about a 15 minute walk from the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast, and one we refer guests to as “our favourite restaurant in Truro. I can honestly say that neither we, nor any of our guests have ever expressed disappointment in the food, atmosphere nor service. It is very important, as the “local” recommending a restaurant, that we can be certain that our guests will have a great experience – otherwise we lose our credibility.
We were happy to see that Bill also enjoyed Bistro 22 and even said he would make the trip from Halifax to Truro (1 hour drive) just to eat there!
“It was while sitting in the stands at a gym in Truro last Friday that I heard the words “best mashed potatoes ever.” Shortly thereafter, I walked into Bistro 22.
Dennis Pierce, who grew up in Belmont, Colchester County, but trained and worked as a chef in Manitoba, came home two years ago to open his bistro. On the night I was there, Pierce was working alone in the kitchen and a young woman named Courtney was the only server. Both are extraordinarily good at what they do.
Bistro 22 has seating for 32, with dark wooden upholstered chairs at glass-topped tables, and hanging light fixtures. Large framed photos of nature scenes decorate the walls.
As Courtney told us about that day’s specials, she said the caesar salad had just recently been added to the supper menu because it was so popular at lunch, and that the chef makes the dressing himself, which was all I needed to hear.
She also said the chef bakes bread and makes desserts when the restaurant is closed between lunch and supper, and that one of that day’s desserts was red velvet cake, which was all I needed to hear.
Kath and I were joined by our Truro friend Dede for dinner, which seemed like enough of an excuse to have a bottle of wine and, happily, the wine list here is mostly from Nova Scotia, so I chose Blomidon’s L’Acadie Blanc. There are also three Propeller and two Garrison beers available, as well as Stutz cider.
The mixed green salad, with avocado, goat cheese and walnuts, dressed with a cider vinaigrette, seemed like it had been designed with Kath in mind and she described it as “flavourful and outstanding.” Haddock chowder was at the thicker end of the creaminess spectrum, and very tasty. The caesar, though, disappointed. Courtney was right about the dressing, which was great, as were the homemade croutons and bacon bits, but the lettuce was so far from vibrant green you couldn’t use it to treat scurvy. Something in Pierce’s supply chain let him down here.
We’ve resolved to order fish more often in restaurants, and Kath benefitted from that resolution, greatly enjoying a piece of perfectly poached salmon atop wonderfully creamy spinach risotto, a dish that paired perfectly with our wine.
Dede was just as pleased with her spinach salad, which included roasted red pepper, red onion, Dragon’s Breath blue cheese from That Dutchman, bacon, pine nuts and sliced pear. A substantial and delicious salad.
But for once, I think I chose the best meal: roast pork served with beer-and-onion sauce, mashed potatoes that are worth the raves, and carrots and parsnips. Courtney told us that people in Truro often go to the city to eat out; I’d drive to Truro to eat this dish again.
And if I did, I’d have the red velvet cake again. Often seen on the Food Network, red velvet cake is flavoured with cocoa and gets its hue from food colouring. At Bistro 22, it comes with homemade ice cream.
Dinner for three, including wine, tax and a 25 per cent tip to reflect the outstanding service, was $149 and made me glad I overheard that mashed potatoes conversation.”
Bill Spur can be found on Twitter as @billspurr