Bozeman’s new south-side restaurant offers bistro experience

By Katie Thomas EBS Contributor

What does “fusion bistro” mean to you? How about “raw bar”? Those questions make the average Montana foodie, like myself, curious.

Feast Raw Bar and Bistro is Bozeman’s newest restaurant, with an intriguing menu and unusual atmosphere. Owners Steve Kuntz and Caroline Doern opened the doors on Oct. 13, and have been hosting epicureans five nights a week ever since.

Prioritizing sustainably farmed or harvested meats and fish, as well as locally-sourced ingredients, Feast’s menu is divided into sections: “Raw,” “Vegetable,” “Our Favorites” – both meat and veggie small plates – “Seafood,” and “Meat.” The beer and wine menus offer wide variety and local microbrews, and dessert includes chocolate mousse and ice cream treats.

For those who appreciate a different type of happy hour, Feast offers “$10 Tuesday”: three fresh oysters and a glass of sparkling wine; “$1.50 Oyster Happy Hour” on weekdays from 3-5 p.m., or until they’re gone; and “$8 Sunday”: six fried oysters and garlic-herb salt French fries.

I recently had the opportunity to sample a dish from each category on the menu. The “Shellfish Feast,” of raw oysters, clams, shrimp, and marinated crab claws was a light start to a long culinary journey – the

Feast's garnished scallops.

Feast’s garnished scallops.

oysters especially make one consider relocating to the seaside. The same can be said for the “Mezze Platter” of falafel, grilled eggplant, marinated olive and feta that evoke the Mediterranean.

Next I sampled the kale, pear, Camembert-walnut Pâté, followed by delicious crispy pork belly carnitas with sweet corncakes and tomato jam, and then the subtle spice-glazed Salmon over soba noodles. A bottle of the Kermit Lynch Cuvee, a French Côtes du Rhones, accompanied our meal, which concluded with a splendid almond cake complemented by orange almond paste and sage crème Anglaise.

The space Feast inhabits is noticeably different from its previous occupant, the popular Seven Sushi. Gone are the open kitchen and typical restaurant floorplan – Feast’s owners worked with Bozeman’s Hetherinton Design to create a timeless atmosphere, which entails bookcases and curtains woven between tables, as well as nooks and semi-private corners.

One of Feast’s most eclectic features is the green backed bar, which illuminates the dining experience when it’s lit after sundown. The restaurant has an international feel, with the hushed lighting and din of happy patrons.

Kuntz and Doern are both previous owners of catering companies, with extensive culinary

The bison ribeye steak at Feast.

The bison ribeye steak at Feast.

experience between them. Kuntz studied at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Ore., before working in San Francisco and then Bozeman, where he started his own catering company, Montana Epicurean.

Doern worked in the food service industry for many years before starting her catering company and personal chef business, Caroline’s Catering, and the two met when they shared a catering space.

“We both understand flavors, and have a passion for getting food just right,” Kuntz said. Feast was born out of their shared desire to provide “local, sustainable food that is also extremely high-quality, in a comfortable neighborhood atmosphere,” he added.

Feast feels different from any other restaurant in Bozeman, with its upbeat vibe, excellent service, and spectacular food. Eat up!

Located at 270 West Kagy, Suite C, Feast is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 3-10 p.m. Reservations are recommended.