By: Kiel Watson

Originally opening in 2001, L.A. Bistro claims the title of the first Italian bistro serving Halal food in Dearborn. Operated by  Samir Johair and his three sons, the restaurant eventually moved to its current location on Michigan Avenue between Monroe and Oakwood.

The interior of the restaurant space is impressively decorated, and the well-dressed employees add to the high-class feel of the establishment. The first sign that it’s not a typical Italian eatery is the bread; instead of breadsticks or a small loaf of fresh bread, at L.A. Bistro you get fresh grilled pita bread to stuff yourself with before your food arrives.

The menu consists of Italian fare with a Halal twist. A generous seafood offering can be had in addition to the chicken, steak and pasta, resulting in a menu that is generally mouth-watering. While the price of entrees generally hovers between $15-$20, there is a selection of sandwiches, baguettes and roll-ups under ten dollars made with the same high-quality ingredients.

I was able to sample the chicken Alfredo and the honey firecracker chicken for this outing, with mixed reception. The honey firecracker chicken came in a delicious sauce, although I didn’t notice enough spice to earn the “firecracker” moniker. It came with steamed vegetables on the side and bland, underwhelming mashed potatoes.

The chicken Alfredo continued the bland trend. While the grilled chicken itself was juicy and flavorful the Alfredo sauce mostly served as a glue for the chicken and pasta. Given their reviews online perhaps I shouldn’t have picked a dish that was, as the story goes, concocted by an Italian chef to be purposefully bland to not upset his pregnant wife’s stomach. As far as Italian food goes, Alfredo is about as Italian as fortune cookies are Chinese; they’re all American.

Overall the food is good and the portions are generous. If you are in the mood for Italian and not worried about the fare being Halal you may want to check out some of the other Italian restaurants in the area, as the fusion of Middle-Eastern and Italian seems to have kept some of the menu items from being as savory as they could be.