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“Wonderful French Dining on Maryland's Eastern Shore”
Review of Bistro Poplar

Bistro Poplar
Ranked #1 of 61 Restaurants in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $20 - $25
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Reservations
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Wonderful French Dining on Maryland's Eastern Shore”
Reviewed November 23, 2012 via mobile

Bistro Poplar is an unexpected pleasure in an unlikely place. The small downtown of Cambridge, Maryland is not where you'd expect to find expertly prepared French/modern American food, cooked by a chef who trained with food icon Thomas Keller, founder of Napa Valley's famed French Laundry. Trip Advisor's average of 4.5 stars is apt-- this review rounds up to 5.

We heartily enjoyed our dinner at Bistro Poplar. The Bibb salad with blue cheese and tarragon dressing was easily the best dish we tasted-- the lettuce was perfectly fresh, beautifully set off by the tarragon dressing and the sharpness of the cheese. The salad was more than the sum of its parts, sublime in its simplicity. Escargots in puff pastry were extremely good. Our entrees were roast, stuffed quail (excellent) and braised short ribs enhanced by lardons (our gigantic portion-- and we managed to eat every delicious bite-- was a bold tour de force that can be described as comfort food at its best.)

Our wine was a delicious Bordeaux, priced enticingly at $8 per glass and well worth it. For dessert, we splurged on homemade beer ice cream-- the bitterness of the hops contrasted interestingly with the the deepness of the cream. Beer ice cream is likely an acquired taste (not sure that we'd buy a gallon), but great fun to sample as a smaller quantity. Another splurge and a most worthwhile one: the outstanding calvados.

Bistro Poplar is owned by its chef, Ian Campbell, and his family. As detailed above, Chef Campbell's cooking is tremendously rewarding and Bistro Poplar delivers outstanding value to the diner. Service is professional and attentive. If our choices were indicative, the wines and spirits are excellent and well worth exploring. The setting is comparatively simple, yet welcoming.

Bistro Poplar is an exemplary regional restaurant, a small gem in a small city. Definitely worth exploring.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank ANetliner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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283 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Easton, Maryland
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Nuanced food, good service”
Reviewed November 20, 2012

Excellent chef and friendly staff. This downtown restaurant in Cambridge MD is an easy walk from the Arts Center and has become very popular. Tables are close together, so it can be hard to talk when the restaurant fills up. But most patrons are too busy tasting.

Visited September 2012
Thank movedtomaryland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Annapolis, Maryland
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great spot in Cambridge”
Reviewed November 5, 2012

Firts time I have tried this downtown restaurant I agree with all of the positive reviews. Great decor - though a bit noisy - interesting menu, good service. I ahd thr Monkfish dish and it was excellent. Fried oyster appetizer was also very good.

I will be a regular from now on!

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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Thank towdie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eastern Shore of Maryland
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed October 10, 2012

Three of us went to the Bistro Poplar for the first time based on the reviews we had read. Unfortunately we were all disappointed in the food and it certainly wasn't worth the price. The service was just okay.. My two friends had the steak frites which was on the boring side and was just plain blah with about two pounds of fries covering the plate. They need to do something with that thing. I had the scallops which were plenty but were overcooked and smothered in all kinds of distractions which took away from the wonderful taste of freshly prepared seafood. An oyster appetizer was equally bad if you were looking for a taste of the chesapeake. Over breaded, over seasoned with a hot sauce you couldn't tell if you were eating Popeye's chicken smothered in sauce or an oyster. What a waste of good seafood. Unfortunatly it didn't turn out good because we were so anxious to find a decent bistro over here on the Eastern Shore. We won't be back. Oh yeah -- the drinks seemed a bit like water.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Bluemoon1127
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dover, Delaware
Level 6 Contributor
208 reviews
114 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Not worth the price”
Reviewed October 7, 2012

We stopped by without reservations and we were seated immediately. Service was friendly, but the food came too fast. First course was the fried green tomatoes with crab hash. I'm not sure how they were able to slice the tomatoes as thin as they did, but there was so little, all you could taste was the coating. The crab hash was good but didn't demand the high price. The main course came out as soon as we took the last bite of our appetizer. The portions were small and the prices high. We had scallops(4) which were nicely cooked with a small portion of sauteed peppers, grape tomatoes and bread cubes. Our other dish was sliced lamb which was also a skimpy portion over a scallion cake - again very thin and not very tasty. We had high hopes based on their ratings, but were very disappointed.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank 6mojo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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