Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bistango, Irvine

It sounded too good to be true.  Happy hour from 4 pm until closing Monday-Friday and 530 to closing on Saturday?  Who does that?  Well, apparently Bistango in Irvine does.  And they do it very well.

So they tack on Martini to the Bistango’s Manhattan Martini for no apparent reason ($11).  Who cares?  It’s Woodford Reserve, sweet vermouth, Peychauds Bitters (yes, they included the bitters in the description!) and a Luxardo Marachino Cherry.  Steve, the very personable bartender in his mid-fifties, asked if I wanted it stirred or shaken.  Really, he asked me!  My friend gets vodka martini and, sorry, but I can’t remember the brand but she was very impressed they offered it at happy hour prices.

Happy hours tapas are offered from 4-9 pm.  I got the lovely pan seared diver scallop, lemon giner risotto, asparagus, and balsamic ($8).  This was lick the plate good.  Perfectly seared scallop; crunchy asparagus and tangy almost perfectly cooked risotto. The tiny puddle of liquid that formed around the edges was probably not supposed to be there but that didn’t prevent the guy next to me from ordering the same dish once he saw mine (his buddy ordered the manhattan after he saw mine too).

My friend got either Sashimi of Yellow Fin Tuna, ginger cucumber salad, hass avocado, spicy soy vinaigrette ($17.50) or Tartare of Sashimi Grade Yellow Fin Tuna, cucumber, scallions, avocado, chili vinaigrette ($15.75) Too raw and icky for me but she loved it. 
Duo playing 60s, 70’s 80’s softish but not too soft rock in the background adds a nice touch to the lovely vibe at this place.  It's a very friendly crowd.

Steve is busy when leave but he comes out from behind the bar when we leave and jokes about us not even saying good bye and gives us each a hug.  All night long this guy is reminding me of someone but, luckily, it’s not until I get home that I realized it was an ex-boss who done me wrong.  I will have to force myself to overlook this because Bistango does it right all the way around – attentive and charming service, quality cocktail for a decent price, good food.  

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