Takeout dining review: Pistacia Vera goes beyond macarons with brunch-style delights
When life gives you pandemic lemons, eat a lemon tart from Pistacia Vera. Or eat a lemon macaron from Pistacia Vera.
Heck, eat anything from the wonderful business in German Village that thankfully reopened in June for takeout and curbside delivery, because Pistacia Vera’s fare is guaranteed to uplift your disposition. (Note: A younger North Market sibling remains closed due to the coronavirus situation.)
Put simply, no food-producing outlet in Columbus is better at what it does than Pistacia Vera. In fact, the lovely French-style bakery and pastry shop — where gorgeous but affordable treats glimmer in glass cases like expensive jewelry — could give any similar top-drawer operation in the world a run for its euros or dollars.
But humans cannot live on French pastry alone (believe me, I’ve tried), so Pistacia offers brunch-style items prepared with flair to partner with its vaunted baked goods (most brunch entrees come with a green salad brightened by a lemon-shallot vinaigrette emulsion, plus the highly recommended option of a $1 Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookie).
Get dining reviews delivered to your inbox every Monday: Sign up for our daily newsletter
For example, a flaky, buttery and altogether terrific croissant (fragrant, also impressive rye croissants can be substituted) accompanies beloved breakfast ingredients that are given a lusty-yet-elegant treatment in the Bacon, Swiss Chard & Onion Quiche ($11).
The chard and onion play sweet-and-earthy second fiddles to a custardy base of eggs punctuated with double-smoked bacon enriched with Comte cheese in this satiny quiche with a thick and flawless pate brisee crust. Fungus fans should pick the identically constructed and equally delicious Mushroom Quiche ($11, likewise presented with a croissant and salad) featuring shiitakes and Emmentaler cheese.
Pistacia makes a distinguished Croque Monsieur ($13, with a salad), as well. Essentially a hot ham-and-cheese sandwich gussied up with prime ingredients — house-made brioche attractively capped with mornay sauce and oven-blistered Emmantaler (a la lasagna) — this is a worth-the-splurge showstopper whose richness is slightly offset by provided accessories of cornichons and dijon mustard.
Two entrees anchored by esteemed commercial fish products will hook diners seeking something lighter. I liked the silky and citrusy seafood better in the Smoked Salmon Tartare, but the properly tricked-out Tuna Nicoise has a lot more going on with its boiled little yellow potatoes, sliced hard egg, capers, Nice-style Taggiasca olives and more. Both entrees are $14 and appear small in their compostable boxes, but come with a croissant and are more satisfying than they look.
Moving into Pistacia’s sweeter — but never cloying — territory, the simple but rewarding Muesli & Yogurt ($8) is a testament to the benefits of using high-grade components. Local honey, incomparable Snowville Creamery yogurt, plus blackberries, blueberries and strawberries, add multifaceted depth to the delightfully crinkly toasted almond-oat muesli in this deceptively hefty dish.
Abandoning any pretense of healthfulness — don’t we deserve this occasionally? — the large-and-in-charge Pain Au Chocolat studded with big chunks of good chocolate ($4) makes an authentic French-stye breakfast when paired with Pistacia’s Cafe au Lait ($3), which arrives generously enriched with Snowville Creamery milk.
Delving deeper into Pistacia’s world-class confections must include its famous macarons ($2 apiece) — Parisian-style meringue cookies with fancy cake-like fillings. Some currently available favorites: coffee, pistachio and lemon.
Looking for more substantial pastries? Then target that aforementioned Fresh Lemon Tart ($6), the Blueberry Cornmeal Financier (imagine a gigantic cornbread muffin that earned a graduate degree from The Sorbonne; $5) and the Chocolate Bombe ($7), whose snappy shell, chocolate-buttermilk cake and lovely mousse fuse into a dessert that really is, well, the bomb.
If an eclair sounds like something commonplace that you’ve had many times before, you've never had Pistacia’s Classic Eclair ($4). From its lush vanilla pastry cream to its delicate choux pastry shell and refined chocolate ganache, it’s an inhalable pleasure that again demonstrates a local treasure’s commitment to excellence.
541 S. 3rd St., German Village