Eatery - Bistrot Massilia (CA)

4965 Valley View, Ste C, Yorba Linda, CA 92886
Pricing - $$ | Dining - Dressy Casual, Dressy | Cuisine - French

[For full photo set, please click here!] This is nuts - the lovely Bistrot Massilia will be getting my 200th review on Yelp and it deserves the acclaim for what a fabulous place it is. Also, prepare for a long review! I came here with Duc for an unofficial Yelp event hosted by the lovely Lori and silly Sidney. Who puts together a gathering for 55+ people? I don't even think I know that many people! Because of the storming by which we took the restaurant (which they anticipated), the restaurant was ours for the evening. We were even graced by their pianist who is usually only there Fridays and Saturdays.

Anyhow, this gem is located unassumingly in a small strip in Yorba Linda with a deceiving exterior that made us believe it had been there for a few years (the sign was a bit faded). However, upon entering, you see a black and red interior that speaks volumes about the classy atmosphere they are trying to create. Maybe I'm biased because black and red are my favorite colors but boy did I love the decor (couldn't you tell by what I wore that night?). While people were trickling in, Duc and I snagged just about a bajillion pictures of things going on so don't forget to check them all out (well, mostly his pictures).


I digress. Let's start on the food. The no corkage fee resulted in the 55+ people bringing in enough wine to keep everyone happy (it was averaged at our table/booth that everyone got 3/4ths of a bottle each). So of course, we started on that with gusto as they brought out bread - French baguette slices and a sweet walnut bread. Delish. Luckily for us, the four at the table ended up choosing all different items (with one repeat of course) from the fixed menu that Sidney had scored for us. We had the la soupe a l'oignon (French onion soup with toasted bread and melted Gruyere cheese), the tomatoe salad (organic tomatoes, goat cheese, shallots, EVOO, and extra balsamic vinegar), and the charcuterie plate (three meats of chef homemade pâté, French dry salami, and French garlic salami accompanied by fresh black olive tapenade on toast and French pickles). The appetizers blew all of our minds. The French onion soup was like none other I've tasted - rich, hearty, sweet, and good in small quantities. The tomato salad glazed everyone's eyes over with the creamy, lingering goat cheese that perfectly paired with the vinegary-yet-sweet tomatoes. The charcuterie plate featured some amazing choices of meat, especially the homemade pâté. Can I also just say that presentation was gorgeous? Bravo!


Again for the entrees, every choice was chosen (we swear it wasn't planned - just crazy random happenstance!). We just didn't manage to get a picture of the beef dish but look at the beautiful other dishes and their delicate, inviting plating! Anyhow, before I gush on about presentation, choices were the la soupe marseillaise (fish soup of Thai snapper, monkfish, mussels, and shrimp served with spicy aioli, boiled potatoes, and croutons), boeuf bourguignon (beef stew served with boiled potatoes, caramelized pearl onions, and bacon in a red Burgundy wine sauce), and suprême au poulet avec une sauce aux cèpes (airline chicken breast with fresh porcini mushroom sauce accompanied by potatoes gratin, carrots vichyssoise, and spinach flan). As someone who doesn't like fishy fish, I stayed away from the soup because it was very much that. I could smell it when it crossed my seat to be served to Duc. That's not to say it wasn't good - I heard great reviews! The beef stew was absolutely amazing with its tender beef and the rich sauce. My favorite was my dish, the chicken. The breast was perfectly juicy and naturally sweet while the sauce gave me a reason to eat the chicken even if it wasn't good. There had to be crack in that porcini sauce - it was creamy, it was savory, it was heavenly. The potatoes gratin on the side had a different spin on it as there were hints of cinnamon, making it sweet, and the spinach flan was a jelly-like creation of calcium-rich goodness. I really liked the carrots too as they were sweetly caramelized.


Next came the parade of desserts (a three-course meal, yes yes) of which one of every kind was present. We had the crème brûlée, le ch'pain de chien (French bread pudding garnished with raisins and cranberries served with vanilla ice cream), and dark chocolate mousse (a free one is attainable when you check in through the Yelp app there!). While each one of these desserts were delectable in their own way, we discovered collectively that by mixing the three together, we could create a mouthgasm of a trifecta. Upon such a bite, we each collapsed into our seat-side buddy. The crisp crème brûlée top was brittle and thin enough to give way to the rich custard beneath and paired with the rich dark mousse, it was fabulous. The bread pudding was still warm when it arrived and had a great consistency spiked with sweet bursts of flavors from the raisins and cranberries.


Overall, a wonderful night with great service. Our booth-mates were the funny Phillip and charming Crystal of whom we snagged a fantastic picture of them being moose with their mousse (their idea!). I love that one of them. Great wine, great food, and great company were had.

We got the chance to speak to the chef afterward with Lori's introduction, and I just have so much respect for his talents. I have respect for chefs in general but when you actually speak to them and see the passion behind their work, it makes the entire experience all the more enriching. Chef Vincent is a young chef but one who has been working with food all his life, even as a child in Lyon where his family was kitchen/food-oriented. His creations are authentically French and such an emphasis is influenced by his international travel - what can be created that is true to the culture? The traditional ware is due to his diligence and care per dish. For example, that French onion soup I had mentioned earlier? While speaking with him, he emphatically stated that he does not deal with powdered stuff and his creations are almost all made from scratch. The soup's veal stock takes several days to prepare before being added to by onions that had been caramelizing for 4+ hours and wine that has been reduced down for 2 hours. The wine menu is going in the direction of tapping into some lesser known regions of France. The seasonal menus vary on produce available and are prepared with suggestions for paired wines. Chef Vincent's passion for food really shone through as we spoke, and I'm looking forward to coming by again. Thank you to everyone who made the evening happen! Don't forget to check out the full set of pictures on Flickr by clicking here!

Main photography by Duc Duong.