Review: Bistro on the Avenue

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KINGSTON — After the busy holidays, reconnecting and lingering over dinner and drinks with a good friend is a wonderful way to spend a rainy January evening, especially when you decide to meet at Bistro on the Avenue, located at 174 United Penn Plaza in Kingston.

This location has long been known for its cozy restaurant and lively bar.

Coming in from the cold, we were seated at a comfortable table enhanced by a glistening candle, a welcomed touch on a dreary evening.

We were pleasantly greeted by Melissa, our server for the evening.

Upon reviewing the extensive wine and cocktail list, which includes a unique selection of boutique handmade wines by Nawrocki Imports, inviting bubbly options and a wide variety of whites and reds for every palette, my dining partner chose a classic cabernet sauvignon, as I settled on a glass of pinot noir to chase the evening chill.

Upon promptly delivering our wine choices, our waitress, Melissa, proceeded to inform us of the evening’s specials, created by Chef Christopher Austin. With some discussion, as the choices were numerable, we placed our appetizer orders.

My dining partner chose the bruschetta, as I decided upon one of the evening’s special offerings, a classic French terrine.

The generously sized bruschetta, featuring a basil mascarpone spread, artichokes, tomato, roasted red peppers and arugula was drizzled in balsamic combining all of Italy’s finest fl avors into one bite. The elegant French terrine was the most delicious combination of duck and pork, enhanced by pistachios and accompanied with sides of whole grain mustard, pickled red onions and cornichons.

Upon finishing our appetizers, Melissa attentively served the next course.

My dinner companion chose another classic, French onion soup. A melted crusty layer of Provolone and Swiss flowed over the rim of the crock, disguising robust and delicious caramelized onions bathing in a rich beef broth below.

The beet and vurrata salad caught my attention and did not disappoint. A beautiful display of roasted beets, mild burrata cheese, toasted pistachios, and cherry tomatoes were plated with a generous portion of peppery arugula, delicately accented with red onions and enhanced by a lemon vinaigrette.

As we enjoyed catching up on current happenings and reminiscing about days long past, our entrees appeared and their arrival quickly paused all conversation.

My friend chose a delicious and perfectly prepared beef filet in a burgundy peppercorn reduction, paired with garlic mashed potatoes and cauliflower. My entree of choice for the evening was a comforting, creamy and generous serving of Tuscan rissotto featuring artichokes, roasted red peppers, arugula, basil and mascarpone and topped with tender balsamic chicken. Our conversation quickly turned to the delicious and artfully presented entrees that were set before us.

Before we ended this wonderful evening, we agreed to share a dessert from a tempting list that Melissa graciously shared.

The choice was hard to make; however, long friendships are strengthened by communication and cheesecake, so with that in mind we chose the Bailey’s Irish Cream chocolate chip cheesecake.

As we savored every mouthful of this surprisingly light and delightfully airy creation, we agreed that it was the best cheesecake we have ever enjoyed.

As we thanked Melissa and exited into the cold windy night, we chatted about the wonderful evening and made plans to return to Bistro on the Avenue soon.