Even with its lighted blue windows, this small bistro tucked away in the Regal Plaza off U.S. 41 south of Six Mile Cypress is easy to pass by – but that would be a mistake. While Blue Windows French Bistro may be unknown to the thousands of motorists who drive past it each day, the restaurant is so well known among foodies that reservations are a must.

The exclusive French bistro seats a maximum of 33 at its 10 tables, offering an intimate dining experience hosted by Chef Christian Vivet and his wife, Mari. It’s a casual atmosphere with elegant food, fitting for a fine French bistro.

dining

“All our customers have become our friends,” says Mari. The couple opened the restaurant in 2006 as a complement to their catering business. Soon the demand for dining was so great, they decided to focus exclusively on the bistro. Chef Christian is a native-born Parisian, growing up among the famed food of France. He’s traveled widely and trained throughout Europe but returns to his roots to offer an authentic French Bistro dining experience in Fort Myers.

“If there’s something I don’t think is authentic, it’s not going to make it to the table,” says the chef. “The food is as French as you can find.” The only exceptions are a few American customs like serving butter with bread – something foreign to the French. But the menu is distinctly French, with iconic items like escargot, rabbit, duck, lamb sausage, veal kidneys and “sweetbreads” (the thymus). “Nose to tail” is how Mari describes the French way of cooking Chef Christian employs: “He will eat anything.”

While the typical American palate is not accustomed to organ meats and other delicacies, Chef Christian serves them elegantly with succulent and savory sauces. As Mari likes to say, the Blue Windows dining experience is “a trip to Paris without the jet lag.” During monthly wine dinners, Chef Christian pairs varietal wines from around the globe with specialty dishes. For our culinary journey into France, he suggested starting with a light Côtes du Rhône to complement our frog legs and escargot. With dinner, we enjoyed a rich and rare, red Chinon. Our palates were dazzled with the authentic dishes at Blue Windows French Bistro. From the frog legs to the Choco- Espresso Mousse, dining at Blue Windows is a delight.

OUR FAVORITES

01 APPETIZER/ FROG LEGS PERSILLADE

Sautéed with garlic butter and served with a fresh parsley persillade sauce, these tasty frog legs are a great way to start your journey into France. Also try the classic escargot in basil garlic butter or the popular “Lobstergot” with chunks of lobster in the same succulent sauce.

02. TASTE/ WHOLE SEARED QUAIL

This semi-boneless, Manchester Farms Quail is tender and savory, served in a spiced honey sauce which Mari likes to call “fall flavors on the plate,” combining cinnamon, nutmeg, and cumin. The same sweet and savory sauce are used for the sliced duck breast entree, Magret de Canardau Miel.

03. RIS DE VEAU A LA CREME

Known as “sweet bread,” this classic dish has nothing to do with the bakery. The tender veal thymus, or throat, is served in a Calvados Cream sauce and may be ordered as an appetizer or entrée.

04. CASSOULET AU CONFIT DE CANARD

Roasted duck is one of Chef Christian’s specialties. In this savory dish, the duck thigh and leg are served with smoked pork sausage and thick duck bacon served over a bed of seasoned beans and tomatoes with vegetables. This is French comfort food!

05. OF THE SEA/ PAPILLOTE DU JOUR

Don’t overlook the entrées from the ocean. A fresh catch of the day is cooked in a parchment bag with aromatics and citrus extra-virgin olive oil. Also try the meaty Roasted Chilean Sea Bass with Beurre Blanc sauce. Each entrée comes with a locally-grown organic salad with Chef Christian’s own Dijon Red Wine Vinaigrette.

06. DESSERT/ PROFITEROLLES AU CHOCOLATE

This classic French pastry features cream puffs filled with French vanilla ice cream, topped with dark Belgium chocolate sauce with a hint of Grand Marnier and toasted almonds. Paired with an after-dinner port or espresso, this is the perfect way to end your trip to Blue Windows.

 

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