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Charlotte Bistro

Charlotte's distinctiveness begins with the eclectic décor: a quaint and quirky collage of patterned wallpaper, floral nosegays, and white ovoid lamps hanging from a high black ceiling. It all fits together to form an utterly charming ambiance. The cuisine weaves a similarly enchanting web, fusing strands of French bistro fare with ingredients such as the curry and coconut milk that globalize a beurre blanc pooled beneath three bacon-wrapped langoustines. Other winning starters include an onion soup fragrantly fingered with fresh thyme, and coarsely textured pheasant terrine accompanied by a sweet confit of tomato and sharp caper-raisin sauce. A half-dozen entrées are equally fresh, light, and well balanced, none more so than a tender lobster tail poached in brown butter and afloat with five ravioli rounds of minced lobster in saffron-spiked broth. On the other end of the heft spectrum: two hearty domestic lamb chops marinated with thyme and nutmeg and sauced in lamb jus touting just a trifle of truffle oil. The signature dessert is "chocolate soup," dressed with a quenelle of homemade coffee ice cream and a buttery, wispy tuile. Venezuelan chef/owner Elida Villarroel's Charlotte Bistro offers an elegant, enjoyable dining experience at a fair price.

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