Those in search of a fine meal at Grapevine’s Main Street Bistro & Bakery, take note: You’re looking for the “bistro” part.
That’s where you can plunge into a plush booth and nibble on a meat and cheese plate, while dim lights twinkle and well-heeled servers dote.
That’s where you can dine al fresco, at a quaint cafe table, among the shoppers and strollers who treadmill up and down Main Street.
And that’s where you can sit at a handsome bar and peruse an impressive wine list of bottles from near and far, while downing very good mussels and fries.
In other words, you’re not looking for the place where they sell croissants and cookies.
We made that mistake on our recent visit. There we stood, looking for elegance and charcuterie, and seeing only bright lights and pastries, not knowing that the bakery and bistro are in two separate spaces, next door to each other.
Eventually, an employee pointed us in the right direction, and our often excellent meal was underway.
If it’s been a while since you’ve visited Main Street, you very well could make the same flub. Over the past 17 years, the company has evolved considerably, growing from a simple bakery to a full-on restaurant.
Multiple locations have opened, too, in Richardson and Plano.
Most recently, owners Fabien Goury and Yasmine Bohsali revamped the original Grapevine store, adding a dinner menu consisting of French (and some American) cuisine and a wine list featuring bottles from around the world, not just Grapevine — no offense, Grapevine.
Any meal here should start — and possibly end — with the restaurant’s French onion soup, served as an appetizer or entree ($5-$9).
It was hardly the dainty stuff served at antique-mall cafes. Rather, this soup was gloriously messy. The bowl was plastered with caramelized onions, and each time I lifted my spoon to take a bite, melted Gruyere stretched from here to there, like ornery pizza cheese.
A large puffy pastry came on top of the bowl, covering the soup like a lid. The soup’s flavor was magnificent — strong and hearty, full of nuance, down to the last drops, which were sopped up courtesy of the pastry.
Prince Edward Island mussels and fries ($16) were basic but good. They were certainly plentiful. It took a good half-hour to make my way through the generous portion. Mussels can be a little one-dimensional, and I was definitely thinking that about halfway in. A white wine sauce hid beneath the shells, offering an occasional buttery bite.
Accompanying truffle fries, served in a wire basket lined with tissue paper, were nice and crisp. A bit more Parmesan cheese, which merely dusted their tips, and they would have been perfect.
Shrimp and grits ($16) was another wise choice. The classic dish came in the form of a pool of white hominy grits, encircled by a half-dozen plump, sauteed shrimp, with baby arugula piled in the middle. It, too, was of sizable proportion, making it a good dish to share.
Everything about this dish was immediately likable, from the pleasingly chunky texture of the grits to the slightly spicy burn of the chorizo-corn ragout to the meaty pop of the shrimp.
The menu, interestingly, also includes three burgers — a lamb burger with whipped goat cheese and tzatziki; a French burger with Brie and minced mushrooms; and a straight-up American burger with bacon and cheddar.
Appetizers consisted of charcuterie, chicken-fried duck wings and escargot, all of which we wished we’d ordered after our crab cakes ($13) arrived. Not that they were bad; they were just peculiarly small and straightforward. We found ourselves more drawn to the dish’s other component, a small arugula salad, dotted with capers.
Dessert was a sales-pitch spectacle, with lavish descriptions delivered by our enthusiastic server. There were crepes! Strawberry Romanoff! Bread pudding! And profiteroles! The latter consisted of a quintet of slider-size pastries, sliced in two and stuffed with house-made vanilla ice cream, with powdered sugar and drizzled chocolate sauce.
Your other dessert option: Go next door. Now, you’re looking for the bakery.
Main Street Bistro and Bakery
316 S. Main St.
Hours: 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday; 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 6:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.