bistro on lincoln park

One of the last restaurants we went to before I had the baby was the newest addition to Tremont, Bistro on Lincoln Park, for Metromix. Chef Pete Joyce and his wife purchased the former Sage space to open this Mediterranean restaurant.

Overall we really enjoyed it, both the food and atmosphere. Joyce, and his sous chef Cory Hess, shared a little of the restaurant’s future plans, including a happy hour menu and a special wine list featuring 20 wines under $20.

Joyce also discussed his approach to cooking and what people can expect from his restaurant(part of the article is below; for the rest click here):

At Bistro, everything on the menu is homemade—from the bread and desserts right down to the mustard and ketchup. Joyce says he takes pride in knowing nothing comes through the back door in a can and that whenever possible, local ingredients are used. The chef’s philosophy is simple: by starting with great ingredients, you will end with a great product.

Joyce and Hess use classical cooking techniques mixed with modern technology. The kitchen is equipped with a cryovac machine, which is basically a giant food saver that allows the chefs to utilize sous-vide cooking (sous vide is French for under vacuum and is nothing more than a hot water bath with an exact temperature control that allows for precise cooking and to maintain the integrity of ingredients). The chefs will then take foods that have been cryovaced and cook them in the immersion circulator.

The mix of classic and modern cooking techniques works. On a recent visit, we started with a bowl of the onion soup gratinee with venison broth and raclette cheese and the verts aux lardons salad with baby greens, house cured bacon, lavender-honey Dijon dressing, croutons and a poached egg nestled in the center. For dinner, we opted for the steak and frites and ratatouille ravioli with oven-dried tomato and caper butter.

The starters were each fantastic, including the risotto ball amuse bouche with gruyere and truffle oil. The soup had a rich and luxurious taste while the small salad featured generous amounts of the thick-sliced bacon and hearty croutons. The only slight disappointment was the dressing—it wasn’t as flavorful as expected, but the poached egg made up for it.

As for the entrées, the tender steak boasted good flavor but was almost overshadowed by the incredibly addicting fries. The fries, while not necessarily as good as the highly coveted and widely popular fries at Lola and Lolita, were definitely in the same league. As for the ravioli, the simple and aromatic dish was happily cooked slightly al dente and overall, incredibly fresh and flavorful, especially the chunks of tomatoes.

Other popular menu items include the grilled pork loin with Roquefort-celery emulsion, seared tuna with sweetbreads and golden raisin vinaigrette, chorizo blini, Spanish black bean cake and chocolate chip cookies with milk for dessert.

The menu, which features nothing over $23, will change seasonally.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted January 2, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Sounds cool. However the only thing that would deter me would be the sous chef's blog. His negative tone towards another local restaurant & chef is disheartening. Especially in such a small city.

  2. michelle v
    Posted January 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t see the post(s) you are referring to, but I do agree with you – a negative tone from anyone is a turn off for me, too. And you’re right – this is a very small city and all the chefs should be working towards the same goal, not against each other. But again, I didn’t see the post but that is just how I feel in general.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted January 12, 2009 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    I read his review of Bar Cento and he seemed to be right on the money with every comment. That place has some serious service issues. I think I tended to like the food a little bit better than him though.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted January 13, 2009 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I have never been to Bar Cento nor do I think a review on another restaurant by a chef should deter you from going to his/her restaurant. I personally went to Bistro on Lincoln Park and thought the atmosphere was relaxing and the food was amazing. The portions were huge for the price and all the dishes ordered by myself and my friends had delicious flavors. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes to try new things!

  5. Anonymous
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I loved both the food and the atmospere. I strongly recommend it.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    So glad that such a wonderfully talented man left the schleps that he used to work for. Chef Pete was not fully appreciated for his many talents. Congratulations to Chef Pete.

  7. Kurt
    Posted November 29, 2009 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    The single worst restaurant experience I have ever had. The food was litteraly inedible- not just one entre- but almost every entre. We were told that we couldn’t be seated until 8. We arrived- the place was completely empty!–and stayed that way throughout our entire 2 hour nightmare. The food was insipid at best-disgusting (Maple chicken) at worst. Bread and salad OK. Do not go to this restaurant-eat at Mr. Hero’s-you will get a better meal.

  8. Posted February 14, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Only a good bottle of wine and a coscientious server tempered this disaster of a meal.

    A crab cake appetizer was burned to black
    on both sides and covered with a salad portion of greens, it went back.

    An apple and pecan salad had 4 paper thin slices of apple with greens soaked in cider vinager.

    We asked the manager to identif ywhat it was under a serving of walleye. We were told fingerlings and bacon hash. It resembled dried coals. All ingredients were charred rubble.

    Our server offered an ice-creme for salve,
    but it was too little and too late.