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Chez mon ami Gabi is the name of the French Bistro that my hubby took me to have dinner after he was done with work. It’s only 3.5 miles away from our hotel, but the restaurant might as well be located in another universe, because its surroundings are so very different from where we are, next to the Dulles airport.

My hubby has been told by all of his colleagues that he absolutely had to bring me to the Reston Town Center and that is where we went tonight. It is really nice, basically it’s large development with tall office buildings and residential buildings with a huge variety of restaurants, wine bars, cigar bars and high end shops. A very clean, well maintained Town Center I must say with a cute park at the heart of the development.

The French restaurant Chez Mon Ami Gabi was very busy at 6:30, but we still managed to get a table. The ambience was very lively, the wait staff professional, courteous and skilled at their jobs and the decor was more bistro chic than traditional bistro, which was fine, I was reserving judgement until the food arrived. Things were looking good when they put a warm French baguette, butter and a small plate of a very good carrot salad as a tasting bite. As we perused the menu in front of us, I was impressed with the number of classic French dishes, but two items caught my eye: the house made country pate and the Skate a la Grenobloise. When I saw those two, my decision was made. My hubby was going back and forth between a few things, but ultimately he decided on the wild mushroom soup and the caramelized sea scallops with a puree and wild mushrooms.

When our first courses came, we were not disappointed whatsoever, my pate was a wonderful example of what country pates should be and offered with the traditional cornichons, coarse grain mustard and a few olives, I finished the entire plate. My hubby’s soup was delicious, it was creamy and earthy, simply wonderful to savor. We were very, very happy with our choices.

Our main courses kept the bar of excellence way up there. I loved my skate a la Grenobloise, skate is a very traditional dish in French Bistros, skate is a ray and when it is filleted, it is a lovely, flaky piece of fish, perfectly suited to the marriage of the Grenobloise sauce; a simple brown butter, lemon and caper sauce, alongside the skate were three small steamed potatoes in their skin, or as the French like to say in their “robe de chambres” their dressing robes. My hubby’s sea scallops were exquiste, his words, not mine, but after tasting them, I have to agree. Normally I shy away from sea scallops because I have had them incorrectly cooked more often than not, but these were so perfect that they were exactly what my hubby had said, exquisite, sweet, firm and tender, melting in your mouth with a delicateness not often experienced, but when you do it is heaven in your mouth.

When we were done, we couldn’t eat anymore, we got the check and went back to the hotel to digest in comfort while watching our shows; NCIS, NCIS L.A and then Person of Interest.