Food for thought: Bistro offers unpretentious treat

MT LAUREL &045;&045; With all the honking, tailgating and bumper-to-bumper traffic along Highway 280, it&8217;s hard to imagine that just minutes from this bustling area sits a place of complete relaxation.

But that&8217;s exactly what the Standard Bistro offers.

The restaurant, nestled in the scenic yet contemporary subdivision of Mt Laurel, provides a dining experience with big city appeal in a small town environment.

&8220;It&8217;s a getaway for a lot of people,&8221; said General Manager and Executive Chef Alan Martin. &8220;You don&8217;t feel like you&8217;re in the rat race of the city.&8221;

ATMOSPHERE

With elegant wood framing and modern light fixtures, it&8217;s easy to see how Standard Bistro fits in with all the charm Mt Laurel provides.

The open dining room attempts to create a much more casual feel during the day by removing the tablecloths used at dinner and blaring music, such as pop artist Kelly Clarkson, throughout the room.

But at dinnertime, &8220;we like to show off a little bit,&8221; Martin jokes. &8220;We put the tablecloths back on and make you feel extra special.&8221;

Whether dining in the middle of the day for lunch or at night for a leisurely dinner, the Bistro offers a quality dining experience without the pretentiousness of the usual upscale restaurant.

MENU

Martin describes the food at the Bistro as &8220;contemporary Southern cuisine&8221; because the kitchen staff use fresh, local ingredients most Southerners recognize, combined with upscale dishes.

The restaurant relies heavily on fresh farmers market finds to assure they don&8217;t compromise the quality and taste of their food. If it doesn&8217;t look right to the chef, he sends it back.

The most compelling part of the menu is the variety of wild game offered. Although the menu changes daily to provide for the freshest ingredients, wild game is a constant. From elk and bison to wild boar and rabbit, there is something to satisfy anyone&8217;s palate. But be willing to pay the somewhat high price for that satisfaction.

SERVICE

As part of the upscale dining experience, waiters and waitresses are polite and well-trained. They know the menu well and are willing to offer ordering suggestions to the weary guest.

The staff is dedicated to making your lunch or dinner not just a meal, but a dining experience.

FIND IT

3 Mt. Laurel Ave.

Birmingham, Ala. 35242

Hours:

Lunch: Wed.-Sat.

11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Dinner: Tues.-Sat.

5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.

(reservations

recommended: 995-0512