Bistro Vendôme has long been my top choice for pre-theater dining. As a creature of habit, I usually opt to start the meal with the salade campagnarde, which combines seasonal greens, red-skin potatoes, bacon, fried egg, and mushroom duxelles with a light Dijon vinaigrette.

But last week, on the advice of my server, I deviated and went with the steak tartare. The generous round of minced, raw beef tenderloin arrived mixed with a light aïoli, tangy Dijon mustard, zingy capers, and bits of red onion. Each ingredient could be tasted, but none overwhelmed the tender beef. The appetizer was topped with a fried quail egg and served with several crunchy slices of grilled baguette, making for a dish that was both rustic and elegant.

Tip: To snag a pre-theater table a this popular bistro, be sure to make reservations well in advance.

1420 Larimer St., 303-825-3232