Stylish update to Lyon cuisine at South End’s Bar Lyon
Or Bar Lyon, a chic South End cafÃ© in the style of the gastronomic capital of France.
Why Head to this place without a reservation at the corner of Mass Ave. and Washington Street for a drink and a bite to eat in its friendly bar, or settle into a comfortable bench seat for an evening of food sightseeing. The latest production from Columbus Hospitality Group (Mistral, Teatro, Sorellina, Moo…).
The scene Lots of Frenchy, less kitsch. There is a braided tiled floor in the style of the traditional bouchons (bistrots) of old Lyon. A zinc bar lines one side of the slender space, tables line the curtained cafe windows overlooking Mass Avenue. The open kitchen at the end of the restaurant displays an array of shiny copper pans (and what looks like a huge staff). The crowd is a mix of parents with young children, middle-aged couples, many men in blazers, and women wearing Louis Vuitton bags and Burberry jackets. Locals crowd into the bar. There is a distinct bourgeois-bohemian vibe. In the mirror above the bar you will read the cheerful warning “Eat well, laugh often, love a lot”. (Eat well, laugh often, love a lot.) It’s written upside down on the opposite wall so we can read its reflected image from left to right. Enter the sleek washroom, where you’ll find an old-fashioned pull-out toilet and marble sink over an antique cabinet. It’s a journey.
What you eat A revisited version of traditional Lyon cuisine (no blood sausage or veal kidney), including the crusted terrine with an intense jelly in jelly nestled between the tender crust and the large country pÃ¢tÃ©; a real Lyonnaise salad, with curls, large cubes of bacon, roasted potato chips and a perfect poached egg in a spicy and vinegar vinaigrette; a silky omelet, called âbaveuseâ (literally ârunnyâ) enriched with triple cream cheese. Also, the traditional eggs meurette (eggs in red wine), feathery dumplings (fish balls), snails (New York farmed snails) and a classic duck confit.
Fancy a drink? The wine list is compact, satisfying, and – it goes without saying – exclusively Gallic, fleshy with brasserie standards like the Petit-ChÃ¢teau Bordeaux, Burgundy, Beaujolais and the invigorating whites of the Loire. All of them are usable and affordable. The Little Prince cocktail combines cognac, champagne and bitters with absinthe. Gin and Calvados enter La Belle France. Rye whiskey and a hint of sherry make up the aptly named Bon Temps.
Understood “What are you going to take?” asks a woman leaning over a neighbor’s plate. “Do you have a dry white wine?” I can’t drink red. But I can order the fries. It’s my birthday! âOne stylish guy to another:â I told my gf we couldn’t go to Vermont because of the playoffs. I think we’re headed for couples counseling. other, âDo you think that if couples want to go their separate ways on weekends, the relationship is doomed?â A man at the bar orders a glass of wine and the bartender, delighted, says, âThat’s it. chef’s favorite white. When he orders red she says, âAnd this is the chef’s favorite red.â He looks awfully pleased.
1750 Washington St., South End, Boston, 617-904-4020, www.barlyon.com.