Midwest Living Review
Open for dinner Wednesdays through Saturdays, Bistro One serves an eclectic menu of Continental fare in what is easily the most upscale restaurant in Madison. Ultracharming owner and Cypriot Nicos Izamis is as much an attraction as the food itself.Our saganaki starter was heavy on the ouzo, served with slices of artisan bread that proved a nice departure from traditional pita. Reflecting Nicos' motto of "think globally, eat locally," entrees reflect Greek, Italian, French and Cajun influences. Prices hover in the $15 to $20 per plate range. Everything sounded appealing on paper, but a few items weren't quite as good as they could have been. In lieu of a daily special, Bistro One offers the "chef's fancy," a whimsical creation featuring fresh, seasonal products. We tried a coconut-sauced chicken breast with fruit salsa and avocado slices, and it was OK (we found the mint in the salsa a little overwhelming). Our gnocchi wasn't quite as light and pillowy as we hoped it would be, but it tasted good and was served in a deep bowl with tomato, Swiss chard and an unusual balsamic vinegar-tinged broth. The mushroom bisque was flavorful, if a little thin, and the salad was fresh, but unremarkable.An unexpected bonus -- each table receives a family-style skillet of sauted vegetables and pasta to share. We could have eaten this alone and called it a meal. As it was, portion sizes were already huge, and it was just too much food to reasonably enjoy in one sitting. We capped off the evening with a small piece of too-chewy baklava and, at Nicos' urging, sips of a sweet raisin-flavored liqueur called Commandaria. Overall, our meal was fine, but Bistro One would probably benefit from an edited menu and in-town fine-dining competition.