What he’s having: A meal at Colette Wine Bistro, where even the butter makes you glad to be back
A weekly notebook about food during the Covid-19 shutdown. Remember, if you’re dining out, doing takeout or getting delivery, the people serving up the food are part of the front line; keep it in mind when tipping.
Takeout or eat outside: Colette Wine Bistro
The French cafe Colette, spacious and stylish inside the first floor of the Porter Square Hotel, has been a go-to for me for quiet cocktails, wine and bunch. (Poached eggs with duck confit on brioche – who can say no to that?) With the coronavirus shutdown, the eatery went blank for a bit, but is back with a limited menu for dinner. The pan-seared salmon filet with a mixed vegetable semi-puree (the sauce/bed rotates) is a winner, crisp on the outside, moist and pink with just the right tinge of fat and oil in the middle, and no fishiness whatsoever. Get it to go and it comes perfect and clean, served in a neat, wax-lined cardboard box. The same with the side dishes of green beans (verts, as they call them), red bliss potatoes and a miso-braised veggie medley, and a chicken leg coq au vin with braised dark meat that falls off the bone with just a slight prod of your tine, with a mushroom and wine reduction sauce peppered with trim, flavorful chunks of pancetta. Also a must: the bread and butter. The butter here is a thing, just like at Shepard, and nearly a reason on its own to visit, being so savory, smooth and etched with sea salt. It’s addictive, to say the least. Dining outside along Massachusetts Avenue, with its proximity to traffic and sun exposure, has never really appealed to me, but Colette Wine Bistro has a decent setback that won me over. While I’ve yet to return to the patio or dine in, to me, this place was rightly spaced before the pandemic; now that we’re here, in, outside or for takeout, Colette’s got it covered.