2017-01-05 / On the Town

New supper club wows Conejo Valley

Acorn Epicurean
Ela Lindsay


WINE AND DINE—Above, Bistro 101 general manger Mike Lemke, co-owners Marco Gonzalez and Kevin Godliman, and bass player Jeff Takiguchi of the group Rosebud. Left, a delicious dish of filet mignon with smooth potato puree and asparagus topped with crunchy potato chips. WINE AND DINE—Above, Bistro 101 general manger Mike Lemke, co-owners Marco Gonzalez and Kevin Godliman, and bass player Jeff Takiguchi of the group Rosebud. Left, a delicious dish of filet mignon with smooth potato puree and asparagus topped with crunchy potato chips. When excellent, upscale food and a vibrant, intimate atmosphere are paired with mellow live music, you get a restaurant that sings. Bistro 101 Jazz & Blues Lounge is a hip, new supper club-inspired establishment in the Conejo Valley that’s sure to please diners and music buffs alike.

So what’s a supper club? you might ask. It’s a fine-dining restaurant that also, by virtue of its cozy atmosphere and outgoing, attentive staff, brings patrons together to enjoy socializing and live music.

Agoura Hills residents Marco Gonzalez and Kevin Godliman are co-owners of Bistro 101. These longtime friends had a vision for this establishment and bring their many combined years of restaurant experience and customer service expertise to the table—literally.


ELA LINDSAY/Acorn Newspapers ELA LINDSAY/Acorn Newspapers Gonzales, also owner of Tavern 101 in Agoura Hills and its sister grill and tap house Tavern 1 in Malibu, is the orchestra leader of Bistro 101’s impeccable food operations.

This hands-on chef makes sure the menu is in perfect tune. Delicious appetizers, like ahi ceviche tacos or the tasty lump crab cakes with a delicious chipotle aioli, begin any meal like the intro of a beautiful musical composition.

Order the creamy roasted cauliflower puree soup and the crescendo of this dining experience continues to build, like a conductor signaling the string section to chime in.

The peak of a Bistro 101 culinary adventure comes with the arrival of entrees like the amazingly tender 10-ounce filet mignon, which is grilled and served over a fluffy mound of pureed Yukon gold potatoes. It’s served with a lovely red wine mushroom au jus and fresh asparagus. Shaved potato crisps on top of the filet are the piece de resistance of a superbly executed dish.

Lamb lovers as well as chicken and beef eaters will delight in the eclectic American cuisine options. And seafood buffs will be thrilled by the wide array of fare as well, including a wild Mexican shrimp cocktail appetizer and entrees like pan-seared steelhead trout, jumbo shrimp and diver scallops, pan-fried salmon with a tangy orange sauce and a saffron broth-based seafood bouillabaisse.

My particular culinary song ended on a high note with dessert, a to-die-for extra-creamy crème brûlée custard with that perfectly contrasting crunch of hard caramel. It’s a treat I’m still thinking about.

If you’re more thirsty than hungry, slip into the bar and sip a signature beverage, like a smooth lemon drop martini or fun favorites like a Tom Collins or Manhattan.

Of course, Bistro 101 is not only about excellent food and drinks, it’s about music, too, and you can hear it live Tuesdays through Saturdays from 7 to 10 p.m. The jazz and blues tunes add additional sparkle to this Conejo jewel.

The music “should complement the conversation,” said Godliman, Bistro 101’s hospitable host and customer service expert extraordinaire. And it definitely does. You can still easily carry on a conversation as you dine.

On New Year’s Eve, guitarist/ vocalist Rich Cohen and Ira Nepus’ jazz band wowed a packed house at Bistro 101. The night I was there, the cool sounds of Rosebud wooed diners.

The restaurant’s deep rubyred walls and twinkling overhead lights help make Bistro 101 a must-visit spot in the Conejo Valley.

Though it’s been open just a few weeks, customers are already finding their way to the bistro from Los Angeles and the valley, he said.

Bistro 101 is a classy, dare I say even sexy, establishment that beckons discerning diners and music buffs alike. Come with a party or be anonymous; either way you’re sure to feel welcome.

“We wanted to create an authentic place that looks unique, has great food and great music,” Godliman said.

I say “bravo” to these hands-on bistro visionaries.

Visit Bistro 101 Jazz & Blues Lounge at 29020 Agoura Road, just a hop, skip and a jump off Kanan Road and the 101 Freeway. Complimentary valet parking is available.

The restaurant is open 3 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 3 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 to 10 p.m. Sundays. It’s closed Mondays.

The hours will expand in the coming weeks, Godliman said, with the addition of lunch service and a Sunday brunch with music.

The menu will grow, too. Health-conscious customers will soon find vegan options and all patrons will appreciate the addition of New Orleans-inspired dishes.

For information or reservations, call (818) 597-1900 or visit www.bistro101.net.

Return to top