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Flair to Midland: Bar Bistro is worth the drive

Though its location isn't ideal; the menu is spot on

Bar Bistro owner Eric Poulin has a deep background in hospitality, and knows how to make a delicious cocktail. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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Location, location, location. This has been preached for decades and has an inkling of truth, but folks have also been known to say, "build it and they will come."

Whether the slogan applies to Bar Bistro in Midland has yet to be determined. It's only been open since September of last year. It does have the goods. Bar Bistro boasts a sleek, intimate interior adorned with cool metal accessories and a blue neon-lit back bar, flat screen TVs and an inviting open space. Visually, it's an appealing - though it is very out of place. Bar Bistro would fit right in with the downtown Tacoma northern Pacific Avenue crowd or even the Sixth Avenue bustle. Instead, it's on the path less traveled - surrounded by pavement, chickens, cows and streetlights.

Though its location isn't ideal; the menu is spot on. I can promise nothing in the area parallels Bar Bistro. Menu items highlight New American cuisine with whispers of Asian and Creole flair - artfully presented and flavorfully executed. On my last visit, I sampled the rich and creamy Bistro Mac and Cheese ($12/$18). Served with a choice of jerk chicken, chorizo or crab, the dish is a comfort food classic dressed up pretty with bacon bread crumbs. The jerk chicken wings ($12) were the proper level of spice for those who love heat and feature a scotch bonnet hot sauce rather than the traditional vinegar-based variety and served upon a chilled corn salsa - a pleasant shift from the usual carrot and celery sticks. The Cuban Sandwich ($10) was aces, packed full of tender house-braised Kahlua pork, thick slices of bacon, a nice texture lent by Lynnae's pickles and a spicy mustard spread on a brioche bun.

And while the food is very well executed and the ambiance impresses, Bistro Bar - family-friendly though the moniker may suggest otherwise - seems to be suffering from a bit of an identity crisis. Service staff goes casual, donning jeans and tees, which seems contrary to the average ticket price. While some items are wallet friendly, others easily average $20 and beyond. Flat screen televisions flash with sports while music videos play on the center screen. There's a coosh lounge-type area with overstuffed arm chairs offset from the main dining area, while the bar set up has an almost club-type appeal. Again, upscale sports bar featuring high quality eats may be out of place in the Midland area.

In all, Bar Bistro is worth a journey through the path less travelled for good eats and fun cocktails.

BAR BISTRO, noon to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, 1718 99th St. E., Tacoma, 253.537.3655

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