Located in the historic Arlington Five Cent Savings Bank building, Bistro Duet brings an elegant flare to the cozy Arlington Square neighborhood. Serving up modern French cuisine for dinner and now brunch, Bistro Duet is a truly delicious option away from the crowds of Davis Square.
While I was more than happy with my meal (more on that later), my favorite part of Bistro Duet was the atmosphere. Starting with walking through the original bank vestibule into the main dinning room featuring a dramatic barrel-vaulted ceiling, you already feel like you are having a dining experience rather than grabbing a rushed bite to eat. Also in the main dining area is an open kitchen where you can watch Chef Cyrille Couet turn out mouth-watering dishes.
Next to the main dining area is a smaller, more intimate room with an old-style wooden bar and a group of local musicians performing. Being used to the business of brunch places in Davis where the only sound is other patron’s conversations, I very much appreciated the live music as it made it easy to feel relaxed, letting time slow down to enjoy each sip of my coffee.
Bistro Duet’s brunch menu offers something for every type of brunch goer: plenty of savory egg dishes, sweet options, appetizers for those who want a fuller meal experience, and pastries for those who like something sweet to eat along with their coffee. In fact, I would love to go back to just sit at the bar and grab one of their pastries while sipping on a cup of coffee and listening to the live music for the ultimate relaxing Sunday morning.
To start, my husband and I shared the NE Smoked Salmon which was served with Couet farm cream cheese and sweet potato toast. The smoked salmon is locally sourced and just melts in your mouth. The cream cheese was light and fluffy, and the bread had a beautiful orange color, but I was hoping for a stronger sweet potato flavor. The presentation of the dish was great, as it allowed me to choose my ratio of fish to bread. I also appreciated having the capers and onions on the side as I’m not a huge fan of either, whereas Bryan likes to load his lox up with both.
Deciding on a main dish was difficult. Bryan kept going back and forth between the Nico Belgium Waffle served with Vermont butter, maple syrup, and seasonal compote and the Crispy Duck Confit Waffles served with a sage cream sauce. Being in the mood for a savory dish, he went with the duck waffles. Unlike the classic Belgium Waffle, the duck waffles were thinner like a liege-style with the duck cooked into the waffle itself. Similar to the idea of chicken and waffles, this dish does a nice job of balancing sweet with savory, especially the sage cream sauce, which was rich but also had a nice sweetness. Bryan had no problem finishing his plate.
I also had trouble picking just one item. It was between the Baked Eggs Ratatouille with potato, brie, and grilled country bread and the Buckwheat Crepe with cheese, smoked salmon, and fried egg. Visually-speaking, I wish I would have gone with the Baked Eggs Ratatouille, as someone at the table next to us ordered it and it would have made for a prettier picture than the crepe (it also looked delicious). But the salmon from the appetizer was just so good I had to have more, so I went with the crepe. While it wasn’t the prettiest-looking dish, it was very tasty. I loved the crispy bits of the crepe and the salmon, again, was buttery and delicious. While initially unsure about the fried egg on top, I found it helped to break up the salty flavors of the cheese and salmon. I was wishing the yolk was a bit runnier to provide more of a sauce for the crepe, but it was far from being over-cooked. I also would have liked a lemon wedge on the side, again to help brighten up the flavors. Overall though, a delicious dish if you’re a smoked salmon lover.
Because we were in no rush to have our dining experience end, Bryan and I split a dessert. As with the Brunch menu, there’s something for everyone on the dessert menu. We wanted something light, so we ordered the Financier: almond cookies served with season fruit compote. The dessert was exactly what we were looking for. The almond cookies were light with a nice chew and a lovely almond flavor. The sweetness of the cookies paired perfectly with the tart compote, which contained cranberries and butternut squash. It was the type of dessert that satisfies your sweet tooth without feeling overly stuffed at the end.
Overall, I really enjoyed the brunch experience at Bistro Duet and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a slower-paced meal with a great ambiance and solid food. Brunch is served from 11:30am-2:30pm on Sundays and always features live music. While I can’t speak to their dinner service, the menu looks delicious and I am hoping to make my way there one night before seeing a show at the Capitol Theater next door.