May 17, 2012

Bistro Bohem expands outside and inside

Our own bistro du coin

With the opening of Bistro Bohem, the corner of Florida Avenue and 6th Street is turning into a tiny culinary colony along Florida Avenue. Bohem’s popularity scuttled our plans for our first visit. It was 9 pm and we walked over looking to try it out. It was packed and there was a waiting list for both the tables and for the bar. All this on a Tuesday night!

A sign of things to come

After just a few weeks of operation, though, the restaurant is expanding into the old retail space that contained Zee’s, the Trinidadian restaurant that only lasted a few months. A sign on the window christens the space “Café Bohém”. On the 6th Street front, Bohem has added much-needed outdoor seating. We can imagine sitting there, sipping Bohem’s signature Bohemian margarita and watching the passersby. Many LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale residents walk by this intersection on their way to and from the Metro. On our visit, we spotted several neighbors returning from work.

Bohemian Margarita

The Bohemian margarita, by the way, was the best item we enjoyed on our recent visit to the restaurant. It’s not nearly as sweet as a regular margarita and benefits from the distinct taste of gin.

While the drink was noteworthy, the food needed some work. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t amazing either. Bohem offers a variety of “small plates” derived from the cuisine of Eastern Europe. The lightly browned mushrooms were served with a delicious garlic paprika aioli, but the mushrooms themselves suffered from being, well, mushrooms.

Lightly Browned Mushrooms

Mushrooms can be difficult to cook. They absorb water like sponges, resisting your best effort to dehydrate or saute them. Though the mushrooms were coated in breadcrumbs and fried, they were still disappointingly watery inside.

A popular dish is the pierogi, a typical eastern European dumpling stuffed with a potato cheese filling. Bohem garnishes the dish with caramelized onions.

Pierogis, one of Bistro Bohem's most popular dishes.

We hope it was a coincidence, but the pierogi dish contained a watery sauce, as evidenced by the photo. It’s decent, but like any pierogi dish, is simple in taste and perhaps better suited to snaking or breakfast. The caramelized onions were very… caramelized.

Tom Sietsema at the Post reviewed Bohem and recommends the chicken schnitzel, which he says “races ahead of the pack.” We will certainly try it on our next visit.

If you’re headed out for a serious meal, Shaw’s Tavern might be a better bet, but if you’re self-medicating the symptoms of a unpleasant job, Bistro Bohem’s drink menu will do the trick.

Categories: Local Businesses, Reviews
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2 Replies

  1. Looks like they didn’t drain the pierogi. Which begs the question – why boild pierogi when they are so much better when sauted/pan fried with a little olive oil? I hope they get these kinks ironed out. Although, since I am leaving my 4 year stint along N Cap to SW, I may not be around much to try it out…

    I can attest that the food at Shaw’s is good, if a bit spendy. My girlfriend and I split an app, a flatbread, and an entre (all quite good, by the way) and 2 or 3 drinks each last week and the tab come close to $100. I was expecting to food to be a simpler and cheaperr, but I must stress that everything was good. Just know what you’re getting into. I figured neighborhood bar prices and its a bit more than that.

    dano - May 17, 2012 @ 12:47 pm
  2. Actually, I find Shaw Tavern to be terrible when it comes to most of their food. On my most recent visit, I stopped in for Saturday brunch and ordered the Beef brisket with cheddar gravy. The brisket was dry, the gravy had no taste, and the meal was overpriced. Conversely, their pork belly with grits was delicious, but the portion was extremely small.

    My experience at Bistro Bohem was different than yours. I ordered six different dishes from the menu and almost all of them were solid, especially the goulash with dumplings and the onion soup. The staff was extremely friendly.

    Neither one of these restaurants should be as pricey as they are, considering the portioning and ingredients that they are using.

    Anonymous - May 23, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

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