Bistro Midva (Windsor, VT)

(Update: Unfortunately, due to a landlord dispute, Bistro Midva closed at the end of September 2023. The owners are looking to set up another restaurant soon, and I wish them the best of luck; Midva was one of my best meals so far in 2023)

After quite a bit of international travel, late April had me arriving back home in the Upper Valley just in time for Carol’s birthday, and we used it as good excuse to try out a place that’s been on our hit list since it opened: Bistro Midva in Windsor, Vermont. Located on South Main Street in a location that’s been quite a few different restaurants over the year (I remember the spot as Shepherd’s Pie, Au Jus, and Red Head Bistro, just to name a few), and in September 2021 a new set of owners, Chad and Arlanda Eržen Lumbra, decided to reopen the oft-challenged spot with Bistro Midva. The name is Slovenian (basically means “Two of Us”), but I’d call the menu more “European Bistro” in nature; offering up a nice modern menu using fresh, local ingredients like pork belly, locally-raised meat, fresh made pasta, and a nice set of wine and cocktails.

Walking inside, it’s immediately obvious they’ve given the place a good spruce-up, with a very spacious and inviting dining room set up for about 20 diners, with nice classy bistro decor: white tablecloths, good flatware, nice wine glasses. So this is definitely a good spot to consider for a celebratory dinner or date night. The staffing is light (on our visit, it was Chad in the kitchen and Arlanda working the front of house), but they make it work well for that restaurant size, and were very attentive.

I find that much of the dining in the Upper Valley is a little more casual in nature, and as a result most places don’t seem to really work on their wine lists aside from having a few decent sippers, but Midva is a nice exception, offering a nicely-curated list of good varietals. We found a nice 2019 Ricominciare Malbec-Cabernet Franc blend from Argentina that was quite enjoyable, earthy, and quite affordable.

Moving on to our appetizers, we started with a nice, classic soup: a potato garlic bisque. I adore a really nicely made and properly chinois-strianed soup that smooth and creamy, and this definitely delivered: a good potato base, bold garlic notes, and just enough herbed oil and Sichuan pepper garnish to brighten it up a bit. This was a very pleasant opening course.

For her main course, Carol couldn’t resist the seared fois gras. This had a very interesting presentation style, with a saltine crust, Dr Pepper reduction(!), and sauteed green grapes. This is a great example of what sounds like a novelty working well: the concentrated Dr Pepper gives it a nice plum sauce-like consistency that very nicely paired with both the perfectly seared and tender fois gras, as well as the green grapes it was served with. This was definitely a novel combination of flavors.

For my main course, I went for the nightly special of beef cheeks, where were served lightly smoked with a maple and Cabernet braise, served over truffle-butter tagliatelle with black pepper, sauteed greens, and a red wine reduction. This is the exact sort of Italian-inspired beef cheek dish I really enjoy: soft, tender shreds of flavorful beek cheek, not overly dressed, with a nice, fresh, still slightly al dente tagliatelle perfect for dabbing up some of the sauce. This was one of my favorite dishes so far this year.

For dessert? Most anyone that knows me also knows I don’t generally do a lot of desserts, but do have a few particular weaknesses, and one of the is crème brûlée. Midva’s didn’t disappoint, with a perfectly set and smooth vanilla custard with just the right amount of firm sugary crust.

Overall, this was the perfect celebratory meal, and it’s great to see another good dining option show up in Windsor, that’s starting to become a rather nice dining destination (we’ve also recently enjoyed the nearby Windsor Station). The food at Bistro Midva is both tasty and inventive, the staff very pleasant, and for the level of fine dining they offer, quite reasonable. I hope they have continued success.

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