PARK CITY Stepping into the intimate environs of Park City's 412 Bistro is like stepping into Paris, right down to the approachably elegant food and high prices.
Some things, however, are regular old American-style. I don't think quesadillas appear on the menu at many French bistros, for example, and snotty waiters were nowhere to be found on the recent weekday that my husband and I visited for lunch. In fact, our waiter at 412 Bistro was efficient, knowledgeable and accommodating.
Though the prices and white-aproned servers might put families off the place, there is a children's menu, and we saw several families with kids, as well as big groups, receive gracious service. (Just heed the sign on the lobby wall, which warns that unattended children will be given espresso and a new puppy.)
There's a pretty, mostly shaded patio with views of Main Street, but we opted for the small dining room, with white cloth-draped tables and a few mirrored booths along a back wall.
The dining room is way French, with golden-rubbed walls accented with dark red, exposed fixtures, low ceilings and old-fashioned silver fans blowing a little cool into the room.
I started with the ahi tartare, a surprising little molded cake of silky-textured tuna, pears, grilled habanero and pine nuts with sesame vinaigrette. It was smooth, cool, sweet and meaty, and grounded by the richness of the pine nuts. It was heavenly, piled onto bits of the herbed sesame-tuile cracker that accompanied it.
My husband had the bamboo beef, three skewered strips of seared meat, a bit overcooked, atop a simple salad of arugula, cherry tomatoes and feta salsa verde, which was, for all intents and purposes, a pesto.
For lunch, he had the divine pork-loin French dip, a large and beautifully crusted roll filled with tender meat and amber-caramelized onions, cemented together with lashings of Gruyere cheese. On the side he had a fun Caesar salad consisting of stacked whole crisp Romaine leaves, shavings of Parmesan, dressing and housemade croutons.
I had the day's quiche, a substantial slice of moist, eggy tenderness with red peppers, mushrooms and Provolone cheese, and a salad of baby greens.
The quiche was more than enough for any diner, but I couldn't resist a couple of sides: a plate of delicious, tender haricots verts in nutty, fruity brown butter and the four-cheese macaroni gratin, just about the best mac and cheese I've had, served hot and steamy in a white crock with crumb topping.
For dessert, my husband enjoyed the deep, dark-chocolate terrine, mousse in a slice topped with espresso-laced sauce, while I loved the tart au citrone, a sweet-sour slice of heaven with creamy lemon filling over a layer of bittersweet chocolate.Lunch: appetizers $9-$17, salad $7-$12, soup $8, sandwiches $11-$13, lunch entrees $12-$19, sides $5-$6, kids' meals $7, desserts $8-$9, dinner entrees $18-$32.
Where: 412 Main St., Park City
Hours: daily 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m. (dinner begins 5 p.m.)
Payment: major credit cards accepted
Wheelchair access: Difficult (small and crowded dining area, steps, on a hilly street)
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret Morning News. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org