Photo courtesy of bistro222.com

By MONICA SABELLA, Web Editor

Situated along the busy and bustling Michigan Avenue rests Bistro 222, an urban hole-­in­-the-wall which will transport you to a luxurious European getaway the minute you walk through the door.

The humble bistro is located just down the street from the popular franchise eateries Buffalo Wild Wings and Panera Cares. The bistro’s only entrance, accessible via the back lot, leads courageous adventurers through a winding dimly lit hallway, past a jewelry store, a barber shop and an unusual consignment shop, until finally they are rewarded with a diamond in the rough in the form of Bistro 222’s front door.

Upon entering, the gentle lighting, soft sound of Italian music and warm Tuscan ­toned décor envelope the senses, causing the memories of the dreary hallway and Michigan Avenue’s rush hour traffic to fade away.

An attendant appears and directs you to your seat, but not before you catch sight of the numerous awards, celebrating the best wine selection in the area. Other groups about the restaurant quietly chat over their lunch, a white tablecloth draped over every table and a petite vase of flowers resting at its center.

Photo courtesy of bistro222.com
Photo courtesy of bistro222.com

Minutes later a waiter approaches with a European styled bottle of water and the ordering process begins, starting with a choice of beverage. She conversationally mentions the day’s homemade soup, which changes seasonally, while casually setting down the menu and placing a few pieces of toasted garlic bread and oil on the table in front of you.

Both dinner and lunch are offered throughout the day, however I have only had the opportunity to enjoy the latter at this point. Still, let me tell you, despite the unassuming air of the Bistro itself, there is nothing humble about its cuisine. Bistro 222 centers its lunch menu around a Mediterranean twist on classic entrées and all are surprisingly, reasonably priced. A few of the available entrées include a gorgonzola burger; persico croccante, sautéed perch with crispy potatoes and a lemon caper sauce; and a capra piccante, pizza with goat cheese, arugula, caramelized onions, a white sauce, and topped with pine nuts and flakes of red pepper; don’t even get me started on the salads.

Before you know it, the meal has arrived, and let me just say Gordon Ramsey would be proud. There is no such thing as an unappetizing arrangement in this tasteful restaurant. It’s as if the food flew straight out of a Martha Stewart’s kitchen to your plate, almost too beautiful too eat.

Bistro 222 is one of the most charming little restaurants I have ever seen and I guarantee it will be among the best restaurant experiences you ever encounter. Staff members are both friendly and accommodating. On one occasion, the chef made a special grocery run for my friend and I just so that we could have cranberry juice with our meal. Another time, a staff member ran across the street to the bank to break a large bill for one of their lunch guests.

Coming from a family of chefs, I have to say there are not many restaurants that meet my standards of that essential level of ambiance, a friendly staff, and a meal’s taste and presentation which make an experience worthwhile. Bistro 222 made the cut. I have never been so pleasantly surprised and look forward to sampling a few of those prize ­winning wines on my next visit.

Bistro 222 is located on 22266 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI 48124 (Between Howard and Military) and is open for lunch Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner Monday through Saturday 5 p.m.-­10:00 p.m.