Monday, January 26, 2009

"No Substitutions. No Ketchup." -- Black Rabbit Bistro

The clarification that appears at the bottom of the menu sets the tone of this Eugene restaurant gem. "No Substitutions. No Ketchup." Like you could ever need Ketchup on any of the delectable dishes offered at this affordable high-brow bistro. 

The Black Rabbit Bistro, not to be confused as The Rabbit Bistro, is a favorite among locals they wish they could keep to themselves. Only having been open for a few months, the bistro is often full early in the evening on the weekends. I was very relieved to get one of the last tables when I arrived at 6 p.m. on a Saturday. 

Do not let the location deceive you. It is located in a high end shopping center on upper Willamette, only a few doors down from Whole Foods Market. Once you walk in the door, the ambiance created helps you to forget where you are -- Low light with votive candles.
The menu offers many exotic proteins from mussels to frog legs and veal to rabbit. Per the season, many of their dishes feature truffles, a treat most households are not familiar with but is like velvet on your palate. The attention to detail is very impressive, even sprinkling sea salt over the table butter to accompany the fresh French bread.

The highlight of my trip to the restaurant was the french onion soup. I fancy myself a connoisseur of french onion soup, finding myself drawn to sample it if it is on the menu. Even when I do not mean to order it, "French onion soup, please," falls out of my mouth as if my appetite speaks for me. The french onion soup at The Black Rabbit Bistro is rich, unique, and absolutely delicious. The browned chicken stock gives the soup its rich flavor, but only the start of what makes the soup unique. I have encountered many variations of how to present the cheese and the crouton on the soup: On top, on bottom, big crouton, little cheese and vice versa. At the bistro, the soup is served in a larger bowl with a small french baguette crouton and the perfect amount of cheese. How do I explain what I mean by perfect? The cheese is in no way overwhelming, where no matter how you spoon the soup, every bite is saturated with cheese. However, cheese is not an afterthought in this soup. It is very much a happy medium done thoughtfully. Black Rabbit Bistro's french onion soup dominates the top of my list of favorite soups. 

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