Review: St. Martin’s Wine Bistro

There’s nothing surprising about the menu at this old-school European bistro, but the good news is the dishes are executed well.

This Greenville Avenue institution is stubbornly clinging to the old-school European bistro feel that has kept it one of the city’s most romantic dining experiences. Dark woods and oil paintings feel so old-fashioned, but somehow that’s part of its charm. As is the piano man singing Phantom favorites and other tunes to happy couples snuggled up in half-moon banquettes in the Concerto Room. This has been going on for nearly 30 years, so clearly the formula works.
The menu has its appeals, too, mainly because there’s nothing shocking or surprising on there. (Sometimes you just want to know without asking what you’re going to get, right?) The good news is it’s executed well, from the fat little escargot swimming in shallot, garlic, and velvet cream to extra-thin veal Francais doused with a caper-heavy beurre blanc. Prices top out at $27.95 for a spice-cured filet mignon, so fine food here is affordable to boot.

Speaking of affordable, the night we stumbled in we were thrilled to discover a four-course wine dinner option for $39.95. Think shrimp, scallops, mussels, and clams in lobster bisque broth; baked polenta with Asiago; beef medallions smothered in green peppercorn sauce; and sorbet framboise. Each was paired with the evening’s featured wine, from Chardonnay to tawny port. If romance is this easy, you have no excuse.

Get contact information for St. Martin’s Wine Bistro.