Name: Cosmos Bistro.
The story of ... Cosmos Bistro opened in 2015, one of the new businesses to go into what had been The Bellingham Herald’s old newsroom. (We’re now on the second floor, where, without fail, the fragrance of garlic fried in oil and meat wafts up into the newsroom, the delicious scent teasing us mercilessly.)
The eatery dishes up American comfort food in a comfortable environment – high ceiling, natural light streaming in from big windows along North State Street and a distressed urban decor with a rusted-looking I-beam, clear jars turned into lighting fixtures and a velvet Elvis over the bar.
Quick bites: We stopped in for dinner one night after cool fall weather made me crave stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that warms the soul.
I ordered a glass of house red from Maryhill Winery for $6. Dry and robust, it paired well with the $22 tournedos of beef.
A tournedo is a lean cut from the tenderloin. Grilled medium rare, it was served alongside roasted seasonal vegetables – beets, zucchini, carrots and rutabaga – and on top of a mound of roughly mashed potatoes. The beef was finished with a bacon, caramelized onion and mushroom demi-glace that tasted like it was the base for the gravy that topped the mashed potatoes.
The beef was tender, rich and satisfying. And what’s not to love about a mound of creamy mashed potatoes, especially when it’s perfumed with garlic and rosemary?
My dinner date order the roasted half-chicken for $16. The chicken was brined overnight. Savory with a hint of sweetness, the chicken was moist and tender. It also came with roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes, with a side of au jus that hinted at a lemony note for chicken or potatoes dipped into the sauce.
We left room for dessert and ordered the hot cocoa creme brulee for $7, which came with a heaping of whipped cream. The elements of this dessert didn’t come together for me. The hot cocoa part had the taste and texture of a mild chocolate pudding, which would have made my taste buds happy if that was what was served with the whipped cream.
But the the soft texture – I was expecting firmer custard – and mildness didn’t stand up well against the hardened, caramelized sugar on top that also tasted burnt in one spot.
It was a surprising misstep in an otherwise delicious meal.