121 Artisan Bistro has a lot to offer

By By Alex Onken / American Press

According to Merriam-Webster, the word “artisan” means “a person who is skilled at making things by hand” — which describes

the feeling you’ll get over at 121 Artisan Bistro, located near Christus St. Patrick Hospital.

Before this review, I’d only eaten there once. When I did, I played it safe and had some sort of spaghetti-and-meatballs dish

that really blew me away. Italian restaurants are hit-or-miss operations, and this one was definitely a hit.

From what my friends tell me, the Mona Lisa pasta is possibly the best pasta dish in Lake Charles.

American Press writer Justin Phillips and I went downtown recently and spent our lunch hour at 121 Artisan Bistro.

Before I get to the review, one of my biggest complaints was that at noon, the restaurant space was barely lit inside. I was

able to see the menu, but it was a bit of a challenge.

One of the small highlights of the visit was the garlic bread that’s offered with every meal. It had a crisp crust, with a

well-spiced, garlicky taste.

We decided to order the stuffed mushrooms for our appetizer. They came out hot and fresh.

The cheeses in the mushroom were evident and had a good taste. It was almost comparable to an au gratin.

Justin and I decided to split a pizza. The menu gave us quite a selection to build our pie from.

We chose a pepperoni with bacon on smoked mozzarella pizza with black olives, roasted garlic and caramelized onions.

With our appetizer, the pizza was just the right size. Had I taken it on alone, it would have filled me up and left me with

leftovers.

It had a certain taste that was distinct. The crust was thin and could have been a bit more on the crispy side. Still, we

finished off the pizza in no time. Next time, I would like to try a veggie-type pizza.

We ordered our co-worker Mike Cooper a turkey burger with sweet potato fries.

The burger was covered in sauteed onions, lettuce, provolone cheese and pesto mayo. Mike did ask them to hold the fresh avocado

slices.

Mike said the burger was good. The patty, though a little thick, was cooked and seasoned to perfection. The pesto mayo was

amazing.

The bun, a nice brioche, was good even though it was toasted too much on one side.

Mike said the fries were even better.

Cut thin and fried perfectly, they had the optimal salty-sweet mix.

He said that for the first time in a long time, he did not think about adding seasonings or condiments to either dish.

Including the turkey burger meal to go, the entire meal cost under $45.

In all, I wish instead I would have tried the Mona Lisa pasta, but the pizza is pretty good, too.

There’s just something about 121, though that just has a hand-crafted quality to it that you just can’t miss out on.