There are lots of adjectives that can be used to describe Crystal Basin Bistro, the new eatery that just opened in Camino.
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But the best word is yummy.
Yummy food. Yummy wines. Yummy hang out.
An offshoot of the winery, Crystal Basin Cellars on Carson Road, the new Bistro offers small plates of delicious food paired with a glass of fine wine or beer.
There is even a wine tasting area inside the Bistro for those who just want to buy a bottle of locally made wine with names like BadaBing, BadaBoom and Fugetaboutit.
But it’s hard not to want to stick around and try the food once you smell the wonderful fragrances wafting from the open kitchen. A mixture of fresh herbs, melting cheeses — especially Parmesan — and wine envelop you. Those aromas entice one to sit down, order a plate and enjoy a leisurely glass of wine with a friend. Available are 20 different wines to select from in addition to beer and nonalcoholic drinks.
The Bistro, which unofficially opened the Saturday before Easter, offers whimsically named dishes inspired by foods from around the world. Each plate is a rich and satisfying meal and only costs $6.
For example, there is the “Moscow” which is bread stuffed with cheddar and Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise and herbs and then broiled to toasty perfection. Accompanying it is a vodka sauce that is good enough to eat alone but is even better as a dipping sauce.
For those wanting something vegetarian, try the “Brussels” which is a plateful of endive spears stuffed with a tasty mixture of walnut feta and gorgonzola. Decorating the plate is a drizzle of balsamic vinegar as a dipping sauce.
For heartier appetites, there is the “P’ville” which is a broasted beef brisket on Texas toast with gorgonzola crumbles. The chef guarantees it will stick to your ribs. Another hearty dish is the “Turlock” which is a grilled chicken breast slathered in pesto and served as a wrap. All of these dishes come with a dipping sauce or relish.
The talented chef at the bistro is Lisa Scott. When she heard what bistro owner Mike Owen had in mind, she said count me in.
Owen said he wanted Scott as his chef because of her talent in pairing what food and what wines go together — particularly red wines. Scott has recently come out with her own cookbook that people can purchase at the Bistro. Called “Simply Perfect,” it contains every recipe she served at her last job.
Owen said they offer the same menu all day long. An additional menu offering in the future will be an order of soup or salad with a glass of wine for only $10.
For those who simply want to grab and go or picnic, the Bistro has a large selection of items to choose from including fresh bread delivered daily, Dedrick’s cheeses, a selection of imported crackers and flatbreads, dried fruit, canned abalone, pasta, french imported foods, gourmet jerky, jars of bacon jam, the largest selection of hot sauces in the county, and even Jim Beam pancake syrup.
Owen said they plan to host dinners, private parties and celebrations at the Bistro. The building, which used to be part of an old grocery store, can hold 50 to 60 people.
The grand opening of the Bistro is scheduled for June 9. Owen said he is bringing in a professional food carver called Chef Guy who will demonstrate the craft of carving vegetables from 1 to 4 p.m.. There will be music and, of course, plenty of great food and wine.
The bistro is located at 3590 Carson Road in Camino. They are open seven days a week from 11 am to sunset. Owen said during the winter they will close at 5 p.m. During the summer, they will be open until 7 p.m.
For more information, call 530-303-3749. They also have a Website at crystalbasinbistro.com but at the time of writing this article, it was still under construction.