For my first ever Downtown Dining Week meal, I chose to sit down for a French-inspired lunch at Pastiche at the Metro (411 E. Mason St.). Hotel Metro’s Pastiche opened in September 2016, moving from its former Bay View location on Kinnickinnic to the Downtown art deco hotel, and joining its sister restaurant in Brown Deer. Reminiscent of a Parisian bistro, the restaurant is perfectly suited to the vintage European aesthetic of the Metro.
My dining companion pulled up the Pastiche Bistro & Wine Bar app on her phone, and, with no obligations for the rest of the day, took advantage of the free glass of champagne awarded for downloading the app. While I was headed back to the office after lunch, I downloaded the app and took a mental note to make my way back here someday soon for a free glass of bubbly.
The $12.50 Downtown Dining Week lunch menu ($20 value) offered two starter/appetizer options: the Bistro Salad and Roasted Tomato Bisque. My friend selected the Bistro Salad – a decent portion of mixed greens with croutons, cucumber, red onion, tomato and shaved Parmesan cheese, all lightly tossed in a red wine vinaigrette. I opted for the tomato bisque as my appetizer; a creamy roasted tomato soup topped with a drizzle of basil oil. Velvety and bursting with flavor, the bisque was a delectable preview of what was to come.
We both chose the Croque Monsieur for our main course – a French classic – and it did not disappoint. Thinly shaved ham, Gruyere Swiss cheese and Dijon mustard sandwiched between toasted brioche and topped with a Mornay sauce made for a delicious (and filling) entrée. The punch of the zesty mustard caught us both by surprise within the last few bites; it seemed to be a concentrated dollop rather than spread across the sandwich. The Croque Monsieur was accompanied by a perfectly crunchy pickle and side of frites served with a tangy garlic aioli.
We wrapped up our meals with the decadent Chocolate Mousse, which was topped with fresh berries and had a welcome hint of coffee to it. Scraping the bowls with our spoons, we agreed this certainly will not be our last meal at Pastiche.