When you’re a restaurateur with two locations in Egypt, the logical expansion is to an upscale suburban St. Louis Park shopping complex, right? Chef/Owner Sharif Wagdy meant to open here first (he’s from Minnesota), but the economic downturn led him to open Blackstone Bistro in Cairo first. His spot here opened in February, so a friend and I ate through the lunch menu last week to check it out.
IT DOESN'T LOOK LIKE A BISTRO
This place is enormous! Gorgeous decor, lots of brick, huge bar, it feels very upscale, and not like a chill, Barbette-esque bistro. The price points range from a bargain (the $8 hummus was a hearty delicious appetizer), to high for lunch (a $14.50 burger and fries).
IT’S NOT REALLY MEDITERRANEAN
You’ll find mint and chickpeas on a salad, a falafel sandwich, and a lamb burger—but this is mostly American food: pastas, burgers, flatbreads. Even the Egyptian locations serve American-style food with a hint of Mediterranean influence.
YOU SHOULD ORDER
That $14.50 burger is pretty outstanding: smoked mozzarella, with carmelized onions, and fresh arugula. Deeply seasoned and quite juicy, it was great. We picked the Blackstone fries, which were a combo of sweet potato, beet, and traditional french fries - very nice.
I’m a sucker for a cornmeal coating on a flatbread, and the Alexandria Flatbread with figs, blue cheese, and a tomato pesto delivered. ($13.50)
The Mikonos Pappardelle was served with feta cheese cubes, grilled artichokes, and fresh bell pepper. It was even better the next day, when we reheated it so the cheese got all melted. ($15.50)
Our lunch started with bread (something I don’t see very often) served with a trio of spreads: an herbed butter, artichoke and olive oil, and a spicy cheese with tomato. Our iced tea was served with a sprig of mint and a stick of cinnamon. Service was very attentive and friendly.
Blackstone Bistro was a pleasant surprise. Maybe my expectations were not high, but the level of service, the special extras, and the lovely room add up to a lot of promise. Prices were on the higher end, but not out of line from what you’d see at a suburban Redstone-type restaurant. I’ll be back.
3808 Grand Way, St. Louis Park, 952-426-0701, blackstonebistro.com