Bridge Café owner opens upscale eatery
By Linda A. Thompson-Odum firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bridge Café owner Roi Shpindler began a trek down a new culinary path when he opened the new Mint Bistro in Manchester. The classy, upscale eatery is a change from the casual café, and a lifelong dream come true made possible with help from three first-class chefs.
Shpindler has spent his lifetime in the restaurant business — his family owns Caesario’s Pizza. Three years ago he opened The Bridge Café and brought in executive chef George Bezanson, who will now follow him to the bistro. They will be joined by assistant head chef Michael Dussault (formerly of Manhattan on Pearl in Nashua) and executive pastry chef Jessica Haight (from the New York Ritz-Carlton.) This group has created a sophisticated menu that spans the globe.
“The food is international — Asian, Italian, French, Middle East,” Shpindler said. “And we will have tapas at the bar. I worked with the chefs to create the menu, but I have to give a lot of the credit to George and Mike.”
Shpindler describes Dussault’s food style as traditional and Bezanson’s as “out there.” Dussault inspired dishes such as the chorizo frito tapas and the paella, which is full of seafood (shrimp, mussels, calamari and fish), chorizo, chicken, peas, saffron risotto and lobster fumet. Bezanson’s creations include sweet and spicy beef tapas, handmade potato gnocchi starters, and an entree of seared yellow fin tuna with tempura haricot verts, and sake-infused sticky rice.
To top off a meal, chef Haight’s dessert menu is hard to pass up. It features an Earl Grey panna cotta with bing cherries, ruby port, chocolate espresso shortbread and ganache-filled cherries; a warm flourless chocolate cake with bittersweet cayenne anglaise, white chocolate ice cream and a touch of fleur de sel; and the restaurant’s signature mint crème brulee.
The mint theme carries over to the bar with a selection of signature mojitos. Besides the classic, there are also the Del Parro made with passion fruit, the Zensational with green tea, the Fruit Basket of Mojitos made with a choice of raspberry, blood orange, blueberry, pomegranate, tangerine or coconut, and the prosecco or sake mojito. If mint isn’t your thing, choose the unminted version made with fresh basil.
Not in the mood for a mojito? Then pick from a list of specialty drinks or choose a bottle from the more than 100 available in the Mint’s wine cellar. (Many are also offered by the glass.)
Shpindler said the menu was created “so it’s comfortable for this economy. The tapas at the bar ranges from $5 to $12. Someone can come in and have a tapas and a glass of wine without breaking the bank.”
The Mint Bistro will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, plus brunch on Sunday. And on Friday and Saturday evening, a DJ will spin some light music after 9 p.m.
“I don’t want people to think we’re a club,” Shpindler said. “After 9 the music will pick up a couple of decibels. It will be light music, jazz, Frank Sinatra, with a martini lounge feel.”
Shpindler plans to stay involved with both The Bridge Café and the Mint Bistro.
“My family had three restaurants at one time, so I know what it’s like to run three restaurants at once. Besides, the bistro is only two doors down from the café,” Shpindler said.
Then he added, “This is in my blood. I own 30 apartments that I manage, but it’s not my passion. I love to cook. I’m not going to be in the kitchen as much here, but I’ll be looking over each order before it goes out to the table.”