Mississauga Restaurant Gem: Bistro Narra

 

First Impression:   
When we heard that Bistro Narra had a new owner/chef, we decided to give it a try.  We had excellent memories of the last time we were there with the last owners, so we wanted to see what had changed. 

In terms of decor, the room has not changed much. I love the trees decorating the walls.  A cut out in the wall allows a view into the kitchen and if you're seated just right, it's fun to watch the activity as the chefs go about their business of feeding the patrons. The menu is also pretty much the same (which is not a bad thing). The crepes and schnitzel are wonderful dishes and I'm glad they are still there!

The Good:    

“Our server really knew the menu and was patient enough to answer all our questions about the new owner and the menu.”

The service was excellent.  Our server really knew the menu and was patient enough to answer all our questions about the new owner and the menu.  They were offering a three-course meal for $30 that looked enticing, but it was not what I had in mind for that evening.  Perhaps we'll go back soon to give it a try.  What I loved were the hot, toasty fingers of garlic bread that had both a great chew and a nice crunch.  When we asked for more, another basket was brought with a smile!  Delicious. 

The Unique:

“It surprised me that we were served an amuse-bouche before the meal”

It surprised me that we were served an amuse-bouche before the meal:  a little roll of smoked salmon with bocconcini and cucumber.  The saltiness of the salmon mixed with the freshness of the cucumber and the mellow bocconcini cheese was exciting!  It certainly got my taste buds and anticipation jumping as we waited for our dishes.

When you order dishes in a restaurant that are served with tomato sauce, typically the sauce is the same for all.  Bistro Narra's sauces were different on each dish.  They may have had the same base, but they were altered enough to make you feel like you were enjoying something different.  Did I mention that they were delicious?  We had two or three different ones with our meals and they were bright and tangy -- but not harsh like tomato sauce can be -- and either smooth or chunky, each perfectly complimenting the dish they accompanied.  

What they can improve on: 

I'd say not a lot, but a few things do come to mind.  For such an upscale restaurant, the menus are definitely showing their age and should be freshened up.  I found it a bit disconcerting that they were in such bad shape.  We were going to share our appetizer and the server offered to bring us an extra plate.  When it arrived, it had a huge chip in it.  Again, an upscale restaurant should not be serving food on chipped plates.

I was disappointed in the Salzburger Nockerl ($12) that we ordered for dessert.  Salzburger Nockerl is an Austrian souffle dish that is supposed to be light and airy and takes quite a long time to prepare and cook.  While it did take a while to get to our table -- which was fine for us because we were just relaxing with our wine -- light and airy it was not.  The first bite I took reminded me of scrambled eggs - and a souffle should never taste of eggs even though that is predominantly what it's made of.  It was still tasty and served with strawberries and whipped cream, and since it's a difficult dessert at the best of times, it may just have been an off evening. 

What else we tried:

We decided to share the eggplant parmigiana ($11) for our appetizer and were so glad we did!  The crispy breaded eggplant smothered in that delicious, smooth tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese was definitely big enough to share and oh so good. 

My husband chose the Narra scallopini ($19) for his main dish and was delighted with a crispy breaded veal cutlet - yes breaded was the theme of our meals - smothered in a red wine tomato sauce with mushrooms and roasted red peppers.  The sauce was divine!  He asked the server to bring him linguine instead of the potatoes and vegetables and it was cooked perfectly al dente with another tomato sauce that could have been the same one as on the eggplant, yet tasted different with the pasta.  Happiness all around!

I decided to try one of the signature dishes, Narra Schnitzel ($19), which was also a breaded veal cutlet. It was perfectly crunchy around the edges and served with a creamy bacon, onion and mushroom sauce that was silky and made my taste buds dance.  Served with rich mashed potatoes and creamy sauteed spinach, it was excellent.

Final Thoughts:     

“We felt that the food was better than before - the flavours more intense, the meat cooked just perfectly.”

We felt that the food was better than before - the flavours more intense, the meat cooked just perfectly.  I'm dying to try their braised beef short ribs or the short rib crepe.  And then there's the lobster crepe. The choices just keep coming!  For a lovely evening out or to celebrate a special occasion, make Bistro Narra your destination.  I'm sure you'll be glad you did!  

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