Sure Bistro 31 serves fine European classics, but have you tried the burger?

Bistro 31 is a popular European-inspired restaurant in Highland Park Village, a commercial area known for its unique shopping and dining destinations. Founder Alberto Lombardi was inspired to open Bistro 31 after visiting Paris and falling in love with the city’s vibrant café culture. For more than a decade, he’s been channeling that glamor the way it might in North Texas.

It’s a popular place for people to stop and rejuvenate after doing their part to stimulate the economy at all of the high-end shops nearby.

Bistro 31 expanded its outdoor seating a few years ago with an atmosphere that indeed feels like a Parisian café with a touch of Old World charm in the heart of the city. It’s perfect for dining on warm Dallas evenings. Inside, a muted palette of muted grays, creams, and golds softened by warm lighting is refined and soothing. The menu offers a variety of appetizers, but one of the most popular choices is the Escargots Persillade ($19). Six plump snails cooked in garlic, parsley and butter are served alongside a crunchy French baguette toasted to soak up every blessed drop of the rich sauce. Another great appetizer choice is the wagyu beef carpaccio ($18), topped with wild rocket, cherry tomato slices, and long thin strips of Parmigiano Reggiano. Or try the ground lamb meatballs ($18) served over soft polenta, feta cream, and tangy marinara, which adds a nice contrast to the meatballs’ richness. It’s perfect for sharing, but why the hell would you want to?

And as crude as it sounds for a fine French bistro, a fantastic choice here is the plain burger. Which turns out, it’s not that simple. Chef Henry Johnson shared the secrets behind this pound burger.

Johnson says the staff orders the whole brisket and chuck roll, cuts and grinds it in-house, then adds toppings from the restaurant’s best New York strips and filet mignons. The burger is topped with Tillamook cheddar, house-made pickles and aioli along with Bibb lettuce, beefsteak tomato and red onion. A brioche bun from Empire Baking holds all the glorious results.

My dining partner raved about the ketchup served with the fries. He swore the kitchen squeezed the tomatoes to order and thought it was some kind of awesome homemade concoction that he’d never had before. Thankfully, there was a good view of the kitchen from where I was sitting, so I popped his bubble a bit when I told him it was HEB ketchup. Looks like we’ll be going to HEB on our own soon.

Or maybe we’ll use it as another excuse to go back to Bistro 31 for the burger.

Bistro 31, 87 Highland Park Village, no. 300. Monday to Thursday, 11am to 11pm; Friday, 11:00 – 23:30; Saturday, 9:00 – 23:30; Sunday, 9am – 10pm

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