Thursday, August 11, 2011

Josephine's Bistro (CLOSED)

NOTE: Josephine's closed, and the owners launched Scrambled Southern Diner in its location. Josephine's still operates as a catering business.

Located at 2417 Spring Garden Street, Josephine’sBistro specializes in upscale cuisine. It is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and offers $11 dinner entrees before 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Specials rotate daily and include free wine tastings on Thursdays and periodic wine dinners. Josephine’s caters and is available to host private events.

The sister restaurant of Lindley Park Filling Station, Josephine’s is a relative newcomer, but it is already leaving an impression on Greensboro’s dining scene. Months after friends gave it a favorable recommendation, I finally had an occasion worth celebrating and gave it a try. Upon arrival, I was greeted by the owner, Sara Keith, who apologetically explained that they were in the process of putting in a new roof. The renovations didn’t harm the aesthetics much, but the aesthetics weren’t a strong point to begin with. In contrast to the quaint patio, the inside is rather compact and adorned with muted tones. Josephine’s is also fond of unconventional dishware: my entrée came on a rectangular, trough-like plate, and bread was dispensed in small metal buckets.

These odd visual touches are hit-or-miss, but the menu is considerably less ambiguous in its quality. I showed up in time for the pre-6p.m. early bird special, which left me three choices: a gourmet burger, sautéed trout, or flounder and a black bean cake. Choosing between those three was tough enough, but throw in the rest of the menu (steak au poivre, pork Milanese, buttermilk sage fried chicken, and more), and the decision became torturous.

Ultimately, I went with the burger. A beef-lamb blend, it came topped with creamy Boursin cheese, greens, tomato, and bacon, and served with pomme frites and a garlic parm aioli. Both the burger and the veggies were juicy, and the soft, somewhat tangy cheese added a nice contrasting flavor. The aioli also made for the perfect dipping sauce. Gourmet burgers are often a cynical way to gouge diners with unsophisticated palates, but this one was an exception. Everything was so flavorful that I had trouble remembering I was eating a burger and fries, let alone what I was paying for it. I then followed that up with a white chocolate Frangelico cheesecake, a dessert so rich it deserves an entry on the Forbes 500.

As has been said on this blog and elsewhere, good food does not come cheaply. Appetizers run from $6 to $14, and entrees are $14 and up. Josephine’s does offer both small and large plate options for many of its entrees, so it is possible to have a meal here without breaking the bank.

Servers at Josephine’s are both friendly and attentive. Conveniently, they leave you with a carafe of water instead of circling to refill your glass. The food didn’t emerge from the kitchen quickly, but the wait was not unreasonable.

All in all, Josephine’s might not offer the ambience of Print Works or the bonafides of the other Quaintance joints, but on food and friendliness, it should definitely stay in the conversation as a special occasion dinner destination.


Josephine's on Urbanspoon

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