"We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves. Otherwise we harden." Johann Wolfgang von GoetheI rarely return to write about restaurants for a second time. This is one of those times.
I last wrote about Bílkova 13 in the summer of 2011.
Back then, it was a relatively new restaurant specializing in Italian and international fare. I didn't fall in love, but I generally liked it.
Earlier this year, this restaurant with its address in its name got a makeover. It was already going for a high-end crowd. Now it's aiming a little higher.
Bílkova 13 reopened this fall with a revamped menu and a somewhat different look. Restaurants are always changing their menus, and I don't revisit many, but the photos of their new dishes on their Facebook page enticed me back.
Even though it closed down for a while for reconstruction, I wasn't struck by many big differences in the interior. The bar area was lighter and brighter.
I arrived with Miss P. She had a glass dry Prosecco (65 CZK). I tried a very nice Malbec rosé (110 CZK). We later shared a large bottle of Perrier (130 CZK).
We received an amuse bouche the waiter called a "savory pork pâté."
She ordered the tuna ceviche in ponzu with avocado puree and lemon mousse (220 CZK). This was a fine looking and fresh piece of fish.
I had the beef tenderloin tataki (264 CZK). The lightly seared, super tender beef with a char-grilled exterior sat on a sweet soy sauce mixed with pumpkin oil and sesame.
To further satiate her tuna craving, Miss P got the seared tuna steak (459 CZK) for her main course. We emphasized how rare we like it, and they did it just right.
Miss P also ordered a side of mixed vegetables (124 CZK).
I got the risotto with scallops, pancetta chips, egg yolk, and cheese Grana Padano (340 CZK).
I was in the mood for dessert and was surprised there were no chocolate choices. So I went for the caramelized apples with cinnamon and raisins (140 CZK).
Miss P had an enjoyable cafe macchiato (55 CZK).
The service was a mixed bag. Our waiter was generally efficient, but he had a stony and terse disposition. There were also lapses. Our amuse bouche plates remained on the table for half the meal.
The bill for this dinner was 1908 CZK before tip. We enjoyed the meal and looked forward to returning the next week.
This time, the amuse bouche was a glass with olive oil, sage, and pesto sour cream with bread sticks.
We were celebrating, so we ordered a bottle of Mailly Brut Rosé Champagne (1230 CZK). They were having a special discount on champagnes this night.
Miss P started with half a dozen oysters (600 CZK). They were as good as can be, large and meaty and refreshing.
I had the B13 Salad with chopped chicken, sesame, shitake, ginger dressing, seaweed and cucumber jelly (179 CZK).
Miss P got the sea bass fillets (379 CZK). The fish was light and pristine -- the best sea bass I've had in a while.
I decided to go for one of the most expensive items on the menu: The filet "mignon" with Albufera sauce (760 CZK). I asked for it medium rare and it came out just right.
The flavor of the Argentinean steak was good, and it was not tough at all. But it was not as tender as I'd expect from a South American filet. The beef tenderloin starter was, in all ways, superior. This dish seemed to be more about the sauce. I liked it, but not enough to justify the price.
For dessert, I got the crème brûlée (158 CZK). The cream and caramelized sugar were as they should be. It came with a few nice candied nuts and salted caramel ice cream.
The service this time was more friendly. But we also had a waitress who spoke almost no English and we had some confusion over the wine. At this price point, I'd expect fluent English. It's also worth noting that their website, as of this writing, is only in Czech.
I'll probably go back to Bílkova 13 again and try a few more dishes. The menu has some interesting choices. But it's right at the tipping point for me on my value scale.
I'm hoping the next visit will continue to renew my interest.
Tel. (+420) 224 829 254