I sat at the Nostalgia Bistro one recent evening, waxing nostalgic about our wonderful trip to Sicily. I was remembering another restaurant, in the ancient city of Siracusa. We had been celebrating our 40th anniversary.
Travel-weary, happy, and a little tipsy that memorable evening a few years ago, I sat idly enjoying how the wait-staff danced around each other, pirouetting with huge heavy-laden trays or scurrying past to take an order. They never came close to colliding. They made me think of a finely tuned machine or a well-planned military maneuver.
Same here, I thought while sitting at the Bistro. The service there is equally adept and seemingly effortless, however busy the night. But they remind me more of a busy family.
Unlike that night in Sicily, at the Bistro I always recognize the person who’s “going to be my server tonight,” and they recognize me. I can joke with Bigi or talk with Norman about something that has happened recently in town. They’re friends.
Back when we lived in Brooklyn, we enjoyed an embarrassment of riches when it came to fine restaurants. Deciding where to go out for dinner usually entailed a rather long conversation.
But after spending some time in Dubois, we realized that in Brooklyn we would almost always wind up at one of 4 or 5 favorite restaurants nearby. We seldom traveled more than a few blocks to have dinner out. So being in Dubois isn’t all that different, in fact.
The Bistro is our go-to place when we want to eat out after Happy Hour, to dine with friends, or just not to cook for ourselves that night. It has an inventive fusion menu, with a mix of comfort food like saucy ribs, delicate light fare such as tender fresh fish, and variations on international kinds of cuisine. (Shannon obviously knows what he’s doing.)
My husband has observed that Dubois is missing a Thai restaurant. But I like the Thai steak salad at the Bistro so much that I have to resist defaulting to that order every time.
The restaurant would probably succeed in the culinary battleground of our former neighborhood in Brooklyn. But it’s not our only option here, by any means.
For a change of pace, we can choose the steakhouse next to the Rustic Pine Tavern.
Is it Wednesday? My husband has to decide whether to resist the lure of going a few minutes up-mountain for the weekly prime rib special at the Wilderness Boundary Restaurant. I’m not usually a red meat eater, so I prefer their little thin-crust pizzas and their hearty soups du jour.
Football Saturday? We’re going to want the barbecue from the place near the KOA and the wings from El Jarro.
In a hurry or want take-out? It took us quite a while to discover that the kitchen at Taylor Creek Exxon west of town prepares a variety of really good meals. You’d never go to the gas station for food in Brooklyn but, hey, this is Wyoming.
For a larger variety of choices or a more exotic option, we can always travel to Jackson or Lander, which takes about an hour – not that much longer than a trip into midtown Manhattan from our former home in Brooklyn. But there’s no reason to travel all the way to Jackson to spoil ourselves. The new restaurant at Turpin Meadows Lodge, closer than the entrance to Grand Teton National Park, served up the best meals we’ve ever had on that side of Togwotee Pass.
All of these are only counterpoints to the classic option, the Cowboy Café. It’s the obvious choice for a hearty breakfast. Later in the day, I like their sourdough sandwich with pesto and chicken breast. But when I’m feeling really peckish I go for the elk sausage and home fries.
One benefit of spending all year in Dubois is that we can easily get a table off-season.
© Lois Wingerson, 2016
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