Every time I hear a place has Croque Monsieur, I have to go try it.
I don’t know where this obsession came from, I never had the super-awesome French version of a grilled cheese sandwich until well into my twenties, so what’s with the fascination? Regardless, it’s become my unconscious mission to try any one I can get my hands on so I’ll know how to recreate it at home – which I’ve done, but I don’t mind doing again:) Here’s a pic of my first attempt:
So one day some friends and I decided to try the Happy Hour at Bistro Aix. As soon as I saw Croque Monsieur on their online menu, I was sold. But alas, upon ordering I was informed that they don’t offer Croque Monsieur anymore. Wah! But apparently they have Croque Madame now, which is just a Croque Monsieur with a fried egg on top.
I ordered something else that caught my eye, their truffle garlic fries. WOW. I wish I had taken a picture of them, they were quite a formidable pile of fresh, crispy, thin fries well-seasoned with truffle oil and garlic. Between the three of us it took a while to polish the plate, but there was no way we were leaving any behind!
Then we moved on to a main dish to share. We got the Scottish Salmon and Lentil Succotash. Great choice! The piece of fish was huge, cooked to perfection, and came in a light, tasty lentil broth. Between the fries and the fish, I’d bet that ANYTHING you get from Bistro Aix is going to be amazing. When I go back, I’m definitely getting the steak frite because it reminds me of my trip to Montreal with my boyfriend :)
And so does Creme Brulee. So as we decided on a dessert, I was leaning toward that. We got one to share – it was certainly large enough for the three of us to get in a few good spoonfuls. The sugar glaze was expertly melted, and the custard was light and delicious. It’s definitely one of the better Creme Brulee’s in Jacksonville.
In summation, I love Bistro Aix and can’t wait to go back. The interior is moody, sophisticated and clean. The furniture gives it a medieval kind of feel, and I dig that. It’s definitely a nice place to go for a special occasion. They have half-price drink specials until 7pm, and a ton of delicious things to try. Kudos!
***UPDATE!*** April 2014 – I returned to Bistro Aix for my boyfriend’s birthday and tried their Steak Frite with haricot vert. Delicious! They cooked my medium-well steak perfectly and smothered it in a tasty jus. Their fries are consistently thin and crispy, and the haricot vert were buttery and perfectly cooked, with a hint of creme fraiche.
My boyfriend got the homemade Gnocchi with Butternut Squash. It melted in my mouth like nothing I’ve ever had before. Amazing.
Despite the great food, I find the service to be a bit terse. The staff seem a little uppity instead of open and smiley. But maybe that’s their thing, I don’t know. I personally prefer service that’s friendlier. A positive though is that I booked my reservation on OpenTable.com and requested a romantic table for two. They sat us in a front corner booth next to the window with a lit candle. Pretty good :)