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“Transported to France” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Crooked House Bistro

The Crooked House Bistro
Ranked #63 of 533 Restaurants in Salem
Price range: $29 - $31
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Gerth St NW
Description: Welcome to the Crooked House Bistro, come in, have some good food and wine and above all enjoy a warm, cozy and friendly atmosphere. Chef Bernard Malherbe is passionate about food and wine and puts his heart into every dish he creates. Using only the most fresh and wholesome ingredients available, he marries flavors into a balanced work of art. "I believe that the experience of a good meal, paired with a good wine and enjoyable conversation, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. At the Crooked House Bistro, it is my pleasure to provide the food and wine to the equation."
San Diego, CA
Level Contributor
72 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Transported to France”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 18, 2014

If you've ever wondered what it's like to eat at a bistro in France – or you'd like to relive the experience – go to Crooked House Bistro. We sat at the tiny bar and were served by the owner, Bernard (who was also the waiter that night), a gracious host and highly talented French man who is truly in his element. When you enter the restaurant, which is just a few tables, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a cozy bistro in the French countryside.

We started with the tomato salad (sliced tomatoes tossed with shallots and lightly dressed with olive oil and vinegar), a house salad (just-picked lettuce lightly dressed with a house-made tangy dressing), the charcuterie plate, and some fresh bread and butter. We split the pan-seared ling cod for our entree, which was melt-in-your-mouth delicious and cooked to perfection.

I highly recommend the berry cake for dessert, which is generous helping of blueberries and blackberries atop a light, flavorful sponge cake accompanied with buttery caramel and a bit of creme fraiche. The fresh-picked berries were plump and juicy, the sponge cake was moist and light, and the caramel was rich and flavorful. It’s not overly sweet and the natural flavors of the fresh ingredients come through. Don't leave without trying this if it's on the menu.

There are some nice local wines by the glass, as well as some tasty French options. If you're not sure what goes best with a particular dish, Bernard offers great suggestions. He takes great pride in his menu, the preparation and the quality, and it shows.

I give this restaurant the highest rating for food, ambiance and overall experience. All the produce is fresh picked and intensely flavorful. Many thanks to Bernard for the best meal of the year; we’ll most definitely be back.

PS: Bernard mentioned he’ll be opening another restaurant in downtown Salem in September, so I’d make a point to try it – there’s no question it’ll be exceptional, too.

  • Visited August 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank CritiquerCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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59 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    36
    12
    5
    3
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Philomath, Oregon
Level Contributor
113 reviews
83 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Crooked House Has Creative Cuisine”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 2, 2014

Okay, okay – enough with the alliteration!

It was Hubby’s 69th birthday and we decided on a short-notice trip for a week spent in the beautiful, Oregon Willamette Valley. On the big day itself, I took him to the Crooked House Bistro in Salem. And we were not disappointed.

The place is tiny. I mean REALLY small. You sit close to your fellow diners, but, we didn’t feel intruded upon at all. Although the menu is “fine dining”, the ambiance means “come as you are – all are welcome”. No booths, just tables and chairs. A tiny house with a big heart.

As in most places with fine dining, each course is separate. Yes, you pay for the bread, but it’s worth every crumb. There’s a small selection of wines – some by the bottle and some by the glass and the servers will be glad to assist you with your choice.

Hubby and I shared a basket of bread. I started with the shredded cabbage salad with goat cheese. Per the menu description, iIt sounded more like cole slaw, but tasted wonderfully different with a definite barnyard goat thing going on – but in a good way. I could eat a plate-full! Hubby’s salad was a mixture of field greens, Roquefort cheese, pickled onions, and candied hazelnuts. For some reason, he didn’t care for the nuts, but the rest of the salad was so wonderful, he gave it a definite thumbs.

My main entrée featured scallops in a beurre blanc sauce over rice topped with a fennel slaw. Hubby had the braised wild boar – something he had never had before (nope, can’t find wild boar at my local grocery store). My entrée only had four small scallops – thought the dish was overpriced for only four – but the flavor was great and I was content afterwards. Hub’s boar was presented on a bed of the sauce in which it was braised as well as large fat beans. He didn’t lick the plate, but he wanted to (I wouldn’t let him – even though it WAS his birthday)
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For dessert, we split an almond cake topped with fresh blueberries and peaches tossed in heavy cream. Not too sweet. Not too rich. A perfect ending.

In short, the Crooked House Bistro has wonderful food in a homespun atmosphere. Prices can be on the high side for what you get. Menu changes daily dependent on what is in season. I would definitely come again.

  • Visited August 2014
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
3 Thank 3CatMom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salem, Oregon
Level Contributor
109 reviews
77 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Not what we expected!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 22, 2014

Crooked House is very small so it can be crowded and loud. The tables are also very close to each other so everyone can hear your conversation, BUT, it is worthwhile because the food is excellent. Nice French wines to pair with authentic French cuisine. We will definitely go back.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Kevin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lodi, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“T&E on the Road Again”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2014

We often stay in Salem as we travel from California to Washington and it is a special place. This little restaurant located in West Salem along the Willamette river and in a very small house. The chef, owner and waittress were very friendly and made the option of choosing the food very easy. The Sea Bass had been caught that day and was very fresh and delicious. The pork loin with potatoes and green beans was a delight. They were not going to charge us for the glass of wine, but we insisted. Everything was intimate and great for a couple out on a date -- even 47 years of them. You will enjoy this little spot.

  • Visited April 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Tom B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
“Best French Bistro in Salem”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 5, 2014

This is by far my most favorite restaurant in Salem. The food is truly delightful and delicious. The ever changing menu provides an exciting experience every time we visit Bernard and his Crooked House Bistro.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Mark Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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