Miamisburg’s elé Bistro & Wine Bar

By Paula Johnson

Photo: Trout Almondine at Miamisburg’s elé Bistro & Wine Bar; photos: Paula Johnson

Austin Landing, the recently opened shopping and dining complex in Miamisburg, is filled with national chains. I was happy to see that at least one place is a real homegrown addition to the crowd. elé Bistro and Wine Bar is an offshoot of elé Cake Company in West Carrollton, a popular destination for the five Cs: cakes, candies, cupcakes, cookies, and coffee. The Austin Landing location offers a whole lot more, including a full restaurant and wine bar, and, of course, dessert. I was looking forward to trying what this more adult elé offers with DCP Pal Brittany.

elé’s space is not large, and it’s a little deceiving from the glass front entrance where there’s a takeout dessert counter. The seating area is beyond and mostly hidden from the parking and sidewalk in front. The dining space is composed of booths, tables, and high tops ideal for sipping the nice selection of wines elé has to offer. It’s a casual, contemporary space with exposed brick and pleasant decor. I had a favorable impression, furthered by perusing the by-the-glass options on the wine list.

Bubblicious

Two bubbly options and a list of flights caught my attention. I began with a glass of the Anna de Cordorniu Blanc de Blancs at a reasonable $7, while Brittany tried the Spanish Reds flight. And reasonable at $10, hers included a tempranillo, garnacha, and a good red blend. We were off to a promising start once the drinks finally arrived.

elé’s menu features a lot of shareable small plate options, six sandwiches, and five larger entree plates. We decided to try one of the sandwiches and entrees along with a few of the shareables. We began with Fried Risotto ($9), described as crispy risotto fritters topped with parmesan cheese served with a tomato coulis. While we found them pleasant with the tomato coulis—a good foil to offset the creamy, cheesy interior—Brittany commented that she expected them to be more of a crispy pancake than a ball. I agreed with her, given the menu description. (The Italian name for these rice balls is arancini, which would have been more accurate.) We were also in agreement on the next two plates we sampled, Seared Sea Scallops ($13), and Shrimp and Grits ($11). Both had great potential and had elements we enjoyed, but went a little astray.

The Nitty Gritty

The Shrimp and Grits were served on a platform of fried green tomatoes and dramatically presented on a long white platter. However interesting the take on shrimp and grits and the lovely presentation, there were only a few spoonfuls of actual grits. The small shrimp were deep fried, resulting in too much breading combined with the tomatoes. Grilling or sautéing would work much better, particularly with the hollandaise topping. More grits, please!

The Scallops were the most problematic. Scallops, with their luxurious texture and melting sweetness hardly need to be dressed up. Bacon-braised brussel sprouts and a golden raisin puree were listed on the menu as accompaniments, but the parmesan cracker topping everything was a surprise. We loved the crispy little cracker, but found the braising on the too-soft sprouts to be disappointing. A grilled char would add another taste layer and maintain a brighter color. The real puzzle was the sea of overly sweet raisin puree. A sweet note against the other flavors, complementing the sweet scallops isn’t a bad idea, but there was far too much and the thickness didn’t really work. All three of these dishes were very nicely plated and looked appetizing. In the end, these were dishes with great potential, and with a few tweaks, I’d try them again.

We had better success with the Fish of the Day Special, a Trout Almondine ($21), and the Classic Cheeseburger ($10), which we ordered with the tasty shoestring fries I saw being served at the next table instead of the house-made chips. The fish was nicely done and again beautifully presented, topped with a tangle of micro greens, but I did wish for more than the smattering of almonds to more fully live up to its name. We finished with a fall-themed Dessert Flight ($9), which featured a good-sized sampling of three desserts: carrot cake, a pumpkin whoopie pie, and a blondie.

Despite some dishes not quite living up to their potential, elé Bistro & Wine Bar is a place I plan to try again. They’ve got the right idea, and with a little more polish, they would be a gem in a sea of national chains that’s worth your visit.

elé Bistro & Wine Bar is located at 3680 Rigby Rd. in Miamisburg. For more information, please call 937.384.2253 or visit EléCakeCo.com.

 

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Paula Johnson
Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at PaulaJohnson@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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