Blues Bistro and Bar has been flogging Americana to Soho for four years, and doing it with grace and value: dinner here is about pounds 23 a head, and the two-course lunch menu represents serious value at pounds 10 for two courses. This is a spare, gently lit space with a pleasantly mixed clientele and, fortunately, a few aspects of Americana quietly dropped. No-one told us their first name or bombarded us with a list of specials, and portions, while erring toward the generous, weren't actually overwhelming. Odd, though, that a place that sells itself on its provenance should have only two American wines on a list of 50, and that we had to pick through all sorts of confit of duck on puy lentils and fusilli with spinach, roquefort, bayonne ham and shaved parmesan before we found dishes that we would have judged indigenously American.
What we found, though, was good: a Caesar salad was generously packed with bits, and a Manhattan clam chowder - the clear version of the New England classic - was yummy. Maryland Chicken was extremely well executed, and Claire seemed delighted with her Maryland crabcakes. Completely stuffed, we were unable to do justice to a more authentically American pudding menu - pecan and butterscotch tart, mango and lime cheesecake and blueberry mousse all had to go by the board. The Cinnamon and apple cream brulee we shared, though, was top notch.
Blues Bistro and Bar,
42/43 Dean St, London W1
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