Laurel Park Bistro
Outstanding from the minute we walked through the door - attentive and exceptional server and Chef Benitez' exquisite menu was transcendent. My wife had the 3 course and I went for the 5 course. We created our own tasting menu by sharing - we split my marinated clams and her short ribs provençale - both transcendent. We went on the cusp of the change of the Menu so assuredly we will be back for June. If you want a memorable dining experience in Harlingen - Laurel Park Bistro is a must!
I thought it was way too expensive especially considering the size of portions. The mashed potatoes were super bland and the salad needed more ingredients. The short rib was fine but nothing outstanding. I wont be visiting again unless the price is lowered substantially.
This seems to be a very new venue. They still seem to under construction. The staff seems inexperienced but very nice. They do not have wine or beer and the prices were very high for the food served.
My family & I have been fortunate to taste the 5-course menus each month since this special reservations-only dinner service started in November. Just when we wonder how next month's menu could possibly top the one we just ate, Chef Diego creates culinary magic again. Chef Diego puts tremendous thought, effort, & detail into each course. Each dish is beautifully plated & full of perfectly balanced flavors.
We have loved the rotating menu every single month. February's was especially spectacular. Some of our favorite February courses included the vichyssoise (so silky), the mozzarella/tomato/strawberry salad, the raw oysters w/ mignonette sauce (oysters were just flown in fresh that day & were perfectly briny), steak Diane w/ potato pave (pave was especially incredible), & the Mexican flourless chocolate cake (according to my husband, the best flourless chocolate cake he has ever tasted & would order again without hesitation if it ever appeared on a future menu... he normally isn't a huge fan of flourless cakes).
If you have a guest who has certain food or dietary preferences/allergies, Chef Diego is always so accommodating & will do his best to offer dishes that your guest can enjoy. Just let him know in advance when you make your reservations.
Our 8-year old daughter loves dining at LPB because Chef Diego & Alyssa (the wonderful server) always do their best to make her feel welcome & to create an entree with sides that she enjoys. Many times it will be a dish similar to one of the entrees on the menu.
The restaurant is very small but this makes for a very intimate, personal dining experience. We also love that it is BYOB right now, so we can bring our favorite wines. My family & I are so happy that LPB is right here in Harlingen, less than 10 minutes from our home (who would ever have thought there would be a fine dining restaurant in this small city?). We love supporting this immensely talented, creative chef & hope you will try LPB soon!
In a word, admittedly French inspired, "exceptionnelle". The tasting menu was superb and portions balanced. Service was great. The entire event, a most pleasant surprise. While Chef Benitez is still experimenting with temptations for the menu, get ready for a genuinely "expérience gastronomique" like no other in La Vallée Magique (El Valle Magico). Try it and surely you too will say "long live the difference". Only shortcoming, until their liquor license is finalized, you will need to bring your own wine. Enjoy!
Laurel Park Bistro is a breath of fresh air! The ingredients used are high quality, the dishes are made from scratch, and the chef's culinary expertise and openness to experimenting definitely shine through.
The restaurant offers tasting menus that change monthly. From each month's tasting menu, you can choose five dishes to make your five-course tasting or nine dishes to make your nine-course tasting. Although the number of dishes is small, it allows the restaurant to have focus and do those nine things well rather than thirty things poorly. Excellent move.
Each dish is something you won't find anywhere else in Harlingen--perhaps in only a few restaurants in the entire Valley. I went with the five-course December tasting menu and ordered the following:
* Chestnut Agnolotti with White Truffle Oil Sage Cream Sauce--A dish with stuffed sweet pillows of pasta.
* Butter-Poached Lobster Tail and Mascarpone Orzo--Both the lobster and the orzo melted in my mouth.
* Pomegranate-Champagne Sorbet--Refreshing! The flavor from the champagne paired well with the pomegranate.
* Beef Wellington with Red Wine Demi-Glace--The meat was cooked to perfection and the puff pastry was buttery and flakey.
* Vanilla-Cranberry Bread Pudding--Came out warm and fluffy!
Definitely will be back again!