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Monday, Dec. 7, 2015

Maestro of the Bistro

New chef elevates fresh and beautiful entrees

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New chef elevates fresh and beautiful entrees

There’s been a new twist to Bella Fresca Bistro within the past year that treats customers to impressive and delectable entrees.

That twist is their new Executive Chef Taylor Trinkle.

Trinkle, a graduate of the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach, Fla., has been creating dishes for over 13 years – working in Florida and New York – but has only recently been with Bella Fresca Bistro.

Bella Fresca Bistro, located near Twelve Oaks at 608 Absinthe Court in Shreveport, is an offspring to Bella Fresca owned by Zoran Tomic. After years of working in the restaurant industry, Tomic took over Bella Fresca and in 2013 opened Bella Fresca Bistro.

The Bistro is a different side to the original Line Avenue location.

“It’s a more casual and more familyoriented. It’s kid-friendly, and it’s a little step down from the [Line Avenue location] because the prices are way more affordable compared to the other restaurant,” Tomic said. “Everything is fresh-made, all sauces and everything is made in house. We don’t buy anything pre-made.”

It’s important to note the menu is completely different at the Bistro.

As a customer, I admire Trinkle’s approach to the Bistro’s menu. When he started in March, he chose not to rework the entire menu but instead worked on traditional Louisiana crowd-pleasers like shrimp and grits and elevated each dish to his level of perfection. About 70 percent of the menu has changed since Trinkle took on the role as executive chef.

“It’s a real family feeling here. We don’t have a lot of employees, and I like that,” Trinkle said. “A lot of restaurants can be a little hectic – too many attitudes, too many personalities.”

In every bite of any entree, the flavors sing in harmony to customers and this harmonious melody is enjoyed throughout the menu. With any selection, a hungry diner can’t go wrong at the Bistro.

Choosing between entrees like the Colorado Lamb Shank (the chef’s favorite) to the Chicken Contadina was tough, but Trinkle and Tomic were happy to make suggestions.

Dining at the Bistro starts with wine. Tomic is an expert who personally selects each wine he offers in his restaurants. The Bistro offers a list of $25 wine bottles – a perfect gift for the wine enthusiast on your list. Tomic has some of the most elite wines available only at this restaurant and prides himself on knowing each regular customer’s drink.

Starting with the Pork Scaloppini Marsala is almost like having dessert first. A pork tenderloin cutlet bathes in a sweet marsala sauce, sided with possibly the most perfect mashed potatoes and topped with sautéed fresh spinach. Mushrooms in the marsala sauce are pops of flavor as the pork is the humble star of the dish.

The Snapper Tuscany is one of Tomic’s favorites. Fresh pan-seared snapper is placed atop parmigiana risotto. A white wine butter sauce merges the flavors of the dish, including sun-dried tomatoes, wild mushrooms and Roman artichokes. The risotto is perfection at its best and gives a romantic side to the seafood dish.

Passing up a Bistro burger is a mistake. With a choice between a Bacon Mac and Cheeseburger (yes, it’s all mac and cheese between a buttery bun) or a Hangover Burger, served with a fried egg and a grilled jalapeño on top, Tomic offered the Southwestern Style Burger. A customer would be remiss not to experience the Bistro’s twist on a classic burger.

Arriving to the table, donut-looking beer battered onion rings top this meaty mouthful. The burger gets its stripes from a chipotle aioli. This aioli is fingerlicking, french-fry dipping good. But the meat elevates the burger to a taste that is upscale. Ground filet mignon makes up the thick patty.

The meatballs could either be an appetizer or an entree. The meat carries a little bit of spice, but fresh basil adds a refreshing spin to the signature Italian dish.

Trinkle offers burger specials on the weekdays and mostly seafood specials on the weekends. He will soon offer an octopus dish as a special.

With room for dessert, another question is presented: the traditional Italian dessert of homemade tiramisu or the chocolate decadence?

Trinkle described the chocolate decadence as orange-infused dark chocolate fudge with almond brittle on top.

“It’s the best dessert in Shreveport,” Tomic said.

The smooth flavors of the orange mix with the chocolate and is a sweet way to end a dinner at the Bistro.

Diners can eat in the casual restaurant, pickup or benefit from the drive-thru window.

A good way to start a Sunday is at the Bistro. For brunch, the restaurant offers $10 unlimited mimosas and $5 Bloody Marys, but go early and try any of the eggs benedict variations.

Bella Fresca Bistro offers gift cards, that may be used at either location – though a Bistro dinner is highly recommended.

–Lydia Earhart

Beautiful and Fresh! Executive Chef Taylor Trinkle and owner Zoran Tomic have been friends for years and have mastered the new menu at Bella Fresca Bistro.

Bella Fresca Bistro

Location: 608 Absinthe Court in Shreveport 212-1133

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday brunch, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday www.bellafrescabistro.com

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