Last updated on November 10th, 2018 at 02:47 pm

Outstanding food: Bisl.

My interest in this place was peaked following it being listed in Wine Enthusiast as one of America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants 2018. So, I had to visit.

The space is in what appears to be a restored old building on Main Street…..where most of the action in Bozeman is located. The kitchen is very open and a bit on the small side…..more about this later.

Everything on the menu looked interesting and we were a large party and so many of the choices were had, family style…..more about this later.

But before we are off to food, the wine choice to start was a very dry Orange from Republic of Georgia using the Rkatsiteli grape. It is made in the traditional fashion…..in a clay qvervri…..a large clay vessel buried in the ground. Very interesting taste….not like my prior experience with an Orange….but more like a very light red wine than a white/rosé……with moderate tannins.

Then we were off to a quick round of small plates and while I usually don’t talk about the bread, the offering here was very good….not the bread per say but the side of chicken liver mousse with preserved cherry…..outstanding. The beef tartare and steamed chard dumplings were up next and both were very good but I have to give a special nod to the tartare……for the presentation. It arrived on a toasted rye chip……not just any chip but one nearly a foot long…..with dried egg yolk and of course the beef. Visually stunning. Two salads were experienced….the roasted beet salad and the wok fried mushrooms with a nod to the mushrooms.

Up next were our main selections…..and the issues began. I’m not sure what was up the Friday night we visited. We were a party of 6 and the restaurant wasn’t that busy but, the service and communication with the kitchen seemed spotty.

Now I need to digress a bit….back to the wine selection and even further back to my choice of the restaurant…..listed in Wine Enthusiast…..remember. When I requested the Orange the wait staff returned about 5 or 10 minutes later to apologize that they only had one bottle and it wasn’t chilled. My thought…..how could that happen? You take a bottle out and replace it with another bottle….right? Well, it was off to the chiller and arrived about 15 minutes later….slightly chilled….and no more. I think this may have had something to do with the lack of flavors. And, unfortunately, the problems continued.

Back to the mains. But I must digress once again…..back to small plates and my choice…..the charred octopus. The wait staff returned some time later to inform me that they were out of my choice.  Now, back to my choice for the main. I first ordered the lamb shoulder…..an after a period of time I was informed that they were out of that dish…..really? There were only 5 choices for mains and we arrived at 6 pm that night. To their credit, the chef tried to make things right and comped one of our small plates and made a special salmon dish for the table….which helped.

I finally settled on the halibut….which was excellent. However, my concern is, how could there be such poor communication with the kitchen such that the wait staff had no idea how many servings they had of limited dishes? I suspect we have all visited restaurants and been told if you want a particular dish, order it now since it is limited. Never happened this night. Something was up between the kitchen (slow), our table and the wait staff. The relationship with the waitstaff seemed to go south as the night went on. It was through no fault of ours. Very strange.

Now, back to wine…and our choice for the main courses….a very nice 2014 Barbera d’Asti.

No desserts this night…..too full!

In the end, would I recommend Bisl….yes. The food is all quite outstanding. Hopefully, our service experience was a one off and your experience will be spot on. I hope so because this is a unique food experience….in Bozeman or anywhere.

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