I know I promised to do bistros for next Tuesday's Top Ten (thanks for the suggestion, greedygirl), and I'm not backing down. But I think Robert the Single One makes a good point about definitions. Bistros are so trendy the word is popping up in some rather odd places, such as P.F. Chang's China Bistro. If we don't reach some consensus on what the list should consist of, THEN I'm backing down.
Here's what I said in a story I wrote on bistros three years ago:
Don't worry about the distinction between a bistro and a brasserie. Even the food professionals are vague. Both are small, informal and involve alcoholic beverages as well as food. In the United States, the terms are meaningless except to suggest that these are high-energy, casual places where you can have good food and fun.
My biggest concern is that I can't come up with ten of them, unless I can include P.F. Chang's. JUST KIDDING. JUST KIDDING.
(Gene Sweeney Jr./Sun photographer)