Restaurant Scene: Bistro offers cozy, lakeside dining

2013-08-23T00:00:00Z 2014-05-04T17:37:16Z Restaurant Scene: Bistro offers cozy, lakeside diningEloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

Entering 54 Main Bistro in Hobart is like visiting a welcoming neighbor's quaint home.

The eatery was established by husband-and-wife David and Linda Papp and their son Scot Hinkel six years ago on Main Street in Hobart.

"When we started, this area wasn't doing much (in the area) of the farm to fork movement," said Linda Papp.

Hinkel stepped into the role of executive chef of the eatery early on. The chef never had any formal training in culinary studies but Papp said he's always been extremely creative and talented with blending flavors and delivering stunning visual presentations.

"Everything is made from scratch here," Papp said. "And everything is fresh. It takes us three days to get our menu together."

The owners shop at regional farms, local farmers markets and are always on the lookout for the best quality ingredients.

The Papps, who live above the eatery, are intent on bringing a unique experience to regional diners with 54 Main Bistro.

"Every week we change our menu," Papp said, adding the chef comes up with all the ideas for his innovative dishes.

"We never really know what he's going to have on the menu. It depends on what's fresh and in season," she said.

During a recent visit to 54 Main Bistro, which sits alongside Lake George, we chose a window seat with a view of the lake and the outdoor dining area.

Our dinner choices were a Scallops and Risotto ($27) entree and the Croquette de Poisson Etouffee ($25).

The Scallops and Risotto dish featured proscuitto de Parma wrapped scallops with risotto and oven roasted tomatoes with a balsamic gastrique. The dish proved a sweet and flavorful combination.

The Croquette de Poisson Etouffee was a fish cake made with gulf shrimp, sturgeon, grouper, and panko and also featured okra, corn, Vidalia onion, zucchini, tomato, banana peppers and sticky rice. The fish cake was a large, substantial creation and the chef wasn't skimpy with this offering in any way. Presentation proved a stand out as well.

Other items on the menu last weekend included Hoisen Duck Wings ($12), Panzanella Salad ($9) and Filet Mignon ($33). On any given week, menu items range from $19 to $33.

Papp said son Hinkel often incorporates a fusion of flavors in his recipes and enjoys putting Asian and Italian touches on some of the dishes.

"We get a lot of compliments about the food," Papp said.

She said they also wanted their atmosphere to be inviting and would like guests to think of their eatery as a "quaint Victorian cottage on the lake."

FYI: 54 Main Bistro is located at 54 Main Street, Hobart. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays. For reservations or more information, call (219) 947-2817 or visit bistro54main.com.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach her at (219) 933-3365 or eloise.valadez@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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