I wanted to tell you what a spectacular 10th anniversary dinner party you put together for my husband and me recently. I had so many positive calls and comments from the other 12 guests who attended. Each one has been highly complimentary to the creative and delicious food, the service and on how well your upstairs private dining room and separate seating area for cocktails worked for us. From the starter butler pass of gruyere cheese “puffs,” to your signature dishes (the salmon was perfectly cooked and the porcini mushrooms exquisite), to the carousel of homemade desserts; it was all spectacular!
You made our 10-year event unusually memorable and we look forward to sharing another opportunity at Bistro Maison soon.
Linda and Michael Pierce, Carlton
A few minutes and a few bites into our first dining experience at Bistro Maison, my wife said, “I didn’t renew my passport and I don’t have jetlag, but we’re in Paris.” The main reason for the authentic French dining experience at Bistro Maison is the authentic French chef—Jean-Jacques Chatelard, and his delightful wife/hostess, Deborah. My taste buds delighted at every bite of every course. I don’t know where to begin. New Orleans had been the best food experience of my life. Now it is McMinnville—luckily for me only 2 miles from my home. The ambiance—you feel like you are in a small French cafe—and the service—personal, friendly, efficient—complete a perfect experience. Amazing, simply amazing.
Dennis & Dee Anderson McMinnville, OR
It’s the last house on McMinnville’s 3rd Street downtown—as authentic an American main street as you will find anywhere, movie house and all. But just before you reach the railroad tracks, there’s a tiny piece of France, Bistro Maison. Owners Chef Jean-Jacques and Hostess/Manager/Bartender Deborah Chatelard are ex-pat New Yorkers (and indeed, Jean-Jacques is an ex-pat of France) having recently followed their dream to Oregon’s wine country. The place is small and often fills up quickly, a combination of locals (“some come two, three times a week,” according to Jean-Jacques), tourists, and increasingly as word gets around, Portlanders who drive 30 minutes to get in on the secret. The atmosphere is bistro; that is, bustling, chairs-scraping-floors casual, with both quiet corners and loud tables. In the summer there is outdoor dining on the patio, alongside the whistle-stop train station. The menu is truly authentic French bistro cuisine, and everything on it is made on the premises, often with local ingredients; ask Jean-Jacques the story about his local mushrooming friends. The baguette is literally right out of the oven; even the butter is special. “He says, ‘It is a bistro, I have to make it all here,’” Deborah explains of her husband. As each new appetizer comes out, and each component is described, one wonders how he has the time (to make, for example, the two kinds of saucisson, pate, and rillettes on just one plate). This is all before the bubbling white truffle three-cheese fondue, the bisques and salads, and then, the main course. Entrée servings are ample and exquisite, so save room for them. Pommes frites in a little metal bucket on the side, so perfectly fried. The desserts remind you once more the care and effort that is going into every one of these dishes, the moment before they reach the table. Local wines (with the knowledge to recommend them) dominate. The service is better described as hospitality, and if you can understand his accent, you can always speak directly to the chef. After all the food is gone and the wine bottles empty, out come the (local) grappa and wooden bowls of hazelnuts with nutcrackers for everyone. One can feast for $35 – 40 a person, wine included. Perhaps it’s the unlikely location of Bistro Maison that has guests tending toward hyperbole when describing the experience. Still, if this bistro were located in New York—or France—it would still be one of the best.
Chase Emmons Stowe, Vermont
This cozy little restaurant is just what the wine country needed — a casual French restaurant with great food. The husband-and-wife owners bring loads of experience to the restaurant, including time spent at famed New York restaurants The Russian Tea Room and Tavern on the Green. The menu focuses on French standards such as escargot and coq au vin, but your best bets are going to be the mussels, especially those in a Pernod sauce, and the very authentic fondue. In summer, ask for a table on the tree-shaded patio.
Frommer’s Oregon, 2004 Edition
Bistro Maison McMinnville, even if you think of it as the capital of Oregon’s Burgundy, may not be the obvious place for Oregon’s most authentic French bistro. But when the menu features a coarse, lively house pate, coq au vin and hanger steak, and weekly specials of bouillabaisse, cassoulet and pot-au-feu with marrow bones, Yamhill County can look like Provence. With the admirable ambience, local wines and terrific local bread, Bistro Maison is the bistro charming.
Just returned from a most amazing time and dinner at your excellent restaurant. (we were the people who told you we just came down for dinner). Thank you again. Your staff are wonderful and we hope your restaurant remains there for a long time!
Thank you again,
Walter and Kathryn
Dear Deborah and Jean-Jacques,
We always schedule our Willamette wine excursions to end up with a sumptuous meal at your Bistro Maison. This is the 4th time that you have fed us and our group of friends from the East Coast, and each time we declare “This was the best!” The friends that we have shared this experience with always include this meal with you as among their most favorite memories of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Maybe it is the charm and warmth of the bistro that sets the mood, or maybe it is Jean-Jacques’ wonderful homemade pate and fondue that welcomed us most recently at the beginning of the feast, or maybe it is the friendly, attentive ways that Deborah shows to all, but whatever it is, there is a bit of magic. Thank you for making each time a special one!
Sharon & Bob Buchanan
Potomac, MD. Oct. 6, 2007
The Oregonian Listed in Highest recommendation
David Sarasohn, 11/21/03
Hello Deborah. I wanted to send you a personal note to thank you and the entire Bistro Maison team for making our dining experience on July 30 truly remarkable. It is always a highlight for my coworkers. My sincere thanks.
Joyce Ross from Catholic Health. Aug 2008
There wasn’t a staff member around when we left this evening, but I wanted to thank you. We appreciated being moved to a quieter table. Without exception, each staff member who served us was helpful, cheerful, and courteous. And the food was superb. I can’t remember when I had more tender or more perfectly cooked steak. The pork chop was also great.
Thank you for a delightful evening.
Bistro Maison offers amazingly fresh bistro fare w/ a superb and moderately priced wine list that complements the authentic French cuisine. Deborah is a thoughtful hostess and her chef/husband Jean-Jacques is a masterful genius in the kitchen. My wife and I dine at Bistro Maison every time we are in McMinnville and are continuously impressed. The Coq au vin is to die for!!!
Charles Darnell, Ponchatoula LA
The town of McMinnville will be our newest destination thanks to you.
Jim and Beth Schaller Dec. 20, 2008
thank you for a great dinner.
You don’t know us, but we wanted to thank you for a great dinner. We had a late Valentines Dinner at your restaurant last Wednesday the 18th. We’ve lived in Mac for 6 years and have planned to visit your restaurant all these years. Now, we wish we had come sooner! It was fabulous, we enjoyed a romantic dinner and plan to visit more often.
I found your website (very nice by the way) and noticed you had a few recipes posted. My husband absolutely loved the vanilla ice cream in the profiteroles? I was given an ice cream maker for Christmas, and I wondered if I might be able to get your recipe so that I can make it for him. He hasn’t liked the recipes from the cookbook that came with the machine.
Thank you again for a memorable night!
Mandy & Brandon
February 25, 2009
We did come to Bistro Maison last weekend. We ate outside in the garden last Saturday evening.
We had a fabulous meal. It is such a treat to relax and enjoy wonderful food without worrying about gluten! Some “better” restaurants consider successful gluten free cooking to be a broiled chicken breast and boiled rice. Not so in your house! So, thank you.
Our waiter was knowledgeable about GF, so I compliment you on teaching those who work with you.
We will recommend your restaurant happily and when we return to McMinniville. Bistro Maison will be a required stop.
Joan and Tim Meskill
Seattle, May18, 2009