I always thought Chablis was something that came in a box.
Well, that is until I had dinner at the Crooked House Bistro.
Many years ago my husband and I were down in Bandon, Oregon with my in-laws. We dined at this small restaurant with 12 tables, ordered our dinner, and a bottle of wine from our “waiter.” The waiter came back with 5 wine glasses, despite the fact that there were 4 of us, and poured himself a bit of wine. Throughout the evening, he sipped wine with us and then gave us a second bottle for free, because our waiter was the owner. It was a wonderful, friendly, and casual dining experience with great food and wine. I believe that the owner sold the restaurant a few years later and retired, but I loved that restaurant and the dining experience.
About a month ago, it was time for a date night for me and my hubby and I told him we needed to head to Crooked House Bistro. I’d heard nothing but good things about it and wanted to try it out. As we walked into the bistro, I was filled with warm memories of this Bandon restaurant experience. Rustic, authentic, and cozy are just some of the descriptions that popped into my mind when I think about the Crooked House Bistro over on Edgewater St in NW Salem. Chef Bernard Malherbe took the small cottage over from a catering company and created a comfortable dining experience for Salemites. With just a few tables in the restaurant, this place is the epitome of bistro. This little building has had a series of rotating businesses in and out of it and I think Crooked House is here to stay.
We were a bit overwhelmed with all the wine choices and asked Bernard for help, who was our waiter for most of the evening. Without missing a beat he recommended a Chablis to go with our meal, which I was dubious about because well…that was boxed wine in my book. The wine was wonderful, light, and complimented our dinner, and no…Bernard didn’t pour himself a glass of wine while serving us. As we were getting toward the end of our meal, I asked if he was the owner and got a joking “well that depends on why you are asking me that.” I just assured him I had no complaints, only compliments. I wanted to blog about the restaurant and wanted permission to take some interior photos.
For those of you looking for that formal, stuffy kind of dining experience, this isn’t it. Fresh, quality-made food in a casual friendly dining style? This hits the mark. Salem’s newest swan is the Crooked House Bistro.
Yay for trusting your server (who happens to be the owner) and yay to Bernard for expanding the comfort zone! What a great culinary adventure. Salem needs more of this.
Isn’t real Chablis yummy? Did he tell you it’s Chardonnay – but taut, and full of verve, yet deep. Was it the Savary that’s on the list?
It was that Chablis. It was so good. He did say it was essentially chardonnay put in stainless casks so it doesn’t have the heavy oak taste that I sometimes dislike in Chardonnay’s. We were at the bistro again on Saturday and they were out. 🙁 We had a different wine that our waiter (not Bernard) suggested as we were disappointed that they were out of the Chablis. I can’t remember what it was, but it was yummy too. It wasn’t a Chablis though. We had great service again. I can’t remember the waiter’s name but he was really knowledgeable and good.
Salem does need more of this and it is a great little bistro. I really hope people go and try it out.
This place looks so cute!
We’ve been meaning to go, thanks for the great write-up. The house doesn’t look so crooked to me… what do you think of that as a name for a restaurant, from your real estate/branding perspective?
You and Adam need to go. You’ll need a sitter though for the kiddo. Not a kid friendly restaurant. I kind of like the name. Obviously it would be more apropos if it really was crooked, but then I might trip and fall after some of that yummy Chablis.