* Click here for rating key
Bloomsbury Bistro Restaurant Review: Using classic French techniques, owner-chef John Toler creates a tantalizing menu with references to Europe, Asia and the American South of his birth. Varied influences appear in both appetizers and main dishes, such as crab cakes served on soba noodles with sesame seaweed salad and a soy-wasabi aïoli. Coq au vin presents a roasted breast of chicken and a wine-braised thigh with mashed redskin potatoes, exotic mushrooms, smoked bacon and cipollini. Local ingredients are never far from the chef’s discerning hand: Durham’s Cultured Cow cheddar provides the final flourish for a porcini mushroom bisque. Perfect for cool weather meal-ending purposes is the sticky toffee pudding with a brown sugar caramel sauce. A bar menu offers a burger, a cheese and charcuterie plate, and venison meatloaf. The wine list is not extensive but you’ll find some enticing choices, especially among the Pinot Noirs and other red wines. Bloomsbury, a Five Points neighborhood institution, draws food-lovers from all over the Raleigh metro area and beyond. The restaurant closes for vacation the first week of July.