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Fearless Critic restaurant review
San Antonio
Food
Feel
Price
6.9
7.0
$15
Baked goods, French
Café

Hours
Mon–Tue 7:00am–3:00pm
Wed–Fri 7:00am–9:00pm
Sat 8:00am–3:00pm
Sun 8:00am–2:00pm

Features Outdoor dining, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted

www.bistrovatel.com

Uptown Central
4300 McCullough St.
San Antonio, TX
(210) 824-3884
Bistro Bakery
The intent is French, but the accent sometimes slips

Bistro Bakery is the inspiration of Damien Watel, whose flagship Bistro Vatel is right across the street. It was designed to supply his burgeoning restaurant empire, but as difficult times have taken their toll on empire building, the bakery has developed its own identity at the same time it retains Watel’s signature bricoleur (cobbled together out of spare—albeit charming—parts) look. The conceit is French, the execution less so.

Case in point: “Can you make me a café au lait to go with my pain au chocolat?” “Yes, the coffee’s right over there…” by which she meant out of a thermos, cold milk from a stainless pitcher, no bowl-sized cup. Zut, alors! The pain au chocolat fortunately and forcefully recalls Paris (the almond croissants are even more decadent), but the pallid baguettes are hardly comme il faut. Neither is the too-toasty croque madame, as served here a pressed ham and Gruyère sandwich with an egg on top. Simplicity is occasionally endearing, but we’re used to at least a little béchamel…

Yet the tartes are magnifique, the Linzertorte a paean to raspberry and almond cream in a short, crumbly crust. And one can read (or fake reading) Paris Match while attempting to cut a too-crusty croque; that’s gotta count for something.

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