Bijoux defines Dallas dining in a very literal sense. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary notes that bijoux is the plural of bijou, which means jewel or trinket. More specifically, this term refers to "anything small and of elegant workmanship". Bijoux Restaurant, the pride of Lovers Lane, sparkles like a polished gem in the noonday sun, offering unparalleled French food in a delightful jewel-box of a setting situated just behind the Inwood Theatre. My lovely wife the Rock Star and I jumped at the chance to experience this often-misunderstood cuisine one recent Saturday evening. If you decide to venture there yourself, keep in mind that you will have to drive behind the Inwood, looking for the valet stand and the lovely, scripted letter B emblazoned on the entrance awning, located at the rear right corner of the shopping center as you face south.
Bijoux's interior is lover-intimate, without quite the overt sexiness of the assignation. Taupe and turquoise curtains. A dozen or so tables arranged strategically so as to avoid crowding. That marvelous chandelier focussing your attention like the Star of Bethlehem over the goodness that awaits within. Some might call it oh-so-slightly-stuffy, but interaction with the staff will soon suggest otherwise. Chef-owner Scott Gottlich and sommlier wife Gina have prioritized elegance paired with approchability, and they diligently orchestrate staff, food, and atmosphere into a symphonic whole of top-notch quality. Upon our arrival, we were graciously welcomed like old friends, even though we had never dined there before, and were guided to a table managed by Doug's assured yet comfortable care.
Best in Dallas? Maybe, maybe not, depending on your proclivities, but to paraphrase an old saying, if Bijoux isn't the very best, it sure don't take long to call the roll. Bordeaux? Mas oui, and the 2003 Chateau Sisson that we chose displayed the perfect, gravel-washed characteristics that would accompany our celebration of red meat. The three course, prix fixe menu screamed affordability, and we took careful note of its siren song. After an amuse bouche featuring apple and pear, my wife started with the English Pea Angnolotti, a carefully crafted ravioli creation of boure noisette, Parmigiano-Reggiano and her beloved black truffles. Light and layered with fresh cheese and flavor, I was quite fortunate to get just a taste. Despite being tempted by the East Coast Oysters, I bowed to the crowd for once and selected Crispy Pork Belly, with corn, tomato, rich bacon fat, and fava bean succotash (no, Hannibal Lecter was nowhere to be seen), seared to the point of pig deliciousness. Pork belly means bacon, and I truly wish I could dine on this every morning with eggs and coffee. The Rock Star, like many real women, loves red meat, and her veal tenderloin displayed melt-in-the-mouth silken layers of lusciousness. This begs the question: Why order red meat in a town full of great steakhouses? Because the French prepare beef like no other culture, with an almost bishop-like reverence of sauces and flavors. My dish reinforced this fact: Filet of beef, seared perfectly medium rare, and served with haricots verts (green beans) and baby carrots proved possibly the best beef dish I have ever enjoyed in this city's confines. Chocolate bananas without the Foster were light and refreshing, and a simple preparation of French cows-milk cheese was stimulating and almost wholesome, particularly after such a decadent dinner. Finally, a dish of chocolates was offered to us, and we especially enjoyed the peanut butter fudge and the dark chocolate truffle.
SERVICE & WEBSITE
Although most male patrons wore a jacket, Bijoux does not require one, and Doug and his colleagues treated all patrons with the same level of respect, which greatly diminished any aura of stuffiness. Website is http://www.bijouxrestaurant.com/, where you can get a good idea of the cuisine, even though as Doug emphasized, both menu and preparation are subject to change nightly.
Bijoux rises to levels of greatness that most other Dallas establishments can only imagine in their wildest dreams. Discover this magical ruby yourself, and remember:
LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR MEDIOCRE FOOD!!!