Bistro Vendome is owned by the same team who owns Rioja - Jennifer Jasinski (right) and Beth Gruitch-Verucchi. In fact, Bistro Vendome is located just across the street from Rioja (see map). They bought Bistro Vendome from chef Eric Roeder and partner Scott Tallman earlier this year.
Roeder and Tallman opened Bistro Vendome in April of 2003 and were credited with bringing "French soul-food" to Denver. But Roeder also had a hot temper and would regularly berate his staff in full view of patrons. His business began to fall off and he sold to the Rioja owners.
Jasinski and Gruitch-Verucchi sharpened up the menu and went with a more true bistro style of French food that features a number of local and seasonal items.
Bistro Vendome is not a large place with seating for less than 50 in the main dining room. They have an outdoor garden area that is open during the summer. They also seat about 20 people in the breezeway area outside the restaurant and they have a small wine room they use for private dining.
The wine room is where they sat our party of 11 that evening. In the wine room, they have a huge rack of French wines from nearly every region in France. Jacques Mahul, the founder and owner of Focal loudspeakers, picked out a great red wine and a wonderful white.
I started off with the fois gras that was served on a nice toasted brioche and topped with a carmelized onion and orange marmalade. My main entree consisted of the Steak Frite au Poivre - an 8 oz. beef tenderloin grilled to a perfect medium rare, covered with a creamy peppercorn sauce and a side of French fries. It was just outstanding.
A couple of my colleagues went with the Magret de Cunard - a seared duck breast, baked in confit. I had a bite of one and it was out of this world.
Jacques went with the Salmon Poele - a citrus marinated salmon filet topped with a Grand Marnier hollandaise. He said it was outstanding. This is a guy who has eaten at some of the greatest restaurants in the world, so if he said it was outstanding, it was.
The desserts were tempting, but I held off on getting my old stand-by - creme brulee. Instead, I went with the lemon sorbet topped with fresh blueberries. It was very good, but the blueberries were tart and rich.
The food and service at Bistro Vendome was just wonderful. Being in our own little room helped the experience tremendously. But I'm sure a table in the main dining room would be a great experience, as well.
If you want a great meal in Denver with no holds barred, Bistro Vendome is the place.