Wednesday, October 26, 2011

LE BISTRO


The ad in the newspaper read, "Opening Saturday!  Le Bistro fine dining with Executive Chef Christopher Maravelas."  How excited was I to try out our city's newest eating place.  Maybe this would be the one.  After all, when an executive chef is mentioned, one would expect superior food.

Le Bistro is housed in the same place that Stacia's Lieu Secret was.  I wondered if Stacia's went out of business.  As the three of us walked inside, we saw that the inside had not been redone.  It looked just like Stacia's.  In fact, Stacia was there!  It turns out that the restaurant took on a new name, but everything else remained the same.  Stacia's outdated decor didn't seem to fit a bistro theme.


Fussy linen tablecloths don't seem to fit with paper napkins, but that's what you get.  And what are all those Victorian accents on the walls?  This looks more like a Victorian tea room than a bistro.  But I'm being picky again.  Well, Stacia's was always known as a place for ladies to lunch.


My luncheon choice, chicken salad on a croissant with potato salad, looked appetizing.  I asked for the potato salad to be wrapped to go so I could take it home for hubby to eat.  The croissant that I was salivating over was disappointingly cold and tough instead of warm, flaky and tender.  When I mentioned this to the server, her reply was, "I'll tell the chef."  Tell the chef?  How about a warm croissant for me?  It didn't happen.  My disappointment didn't stop at the croissant, though:  the chicken salad was totally bland and tasteless.  (Later, at home, hubby took one bite of the potato salad and dumped it, saying it had no flavor.)


Carole ordered Vegetable Rice salad with her chicken salad sandwich.  In Carole's own words, "...the veggies were invisible and the rice a scoop of mush. The chicken salad was average but the side was not tasty at all."  


Rita's Portabella sandwich had Cremini mushrooms (baby bellas) instead of the large Portabellas.  Worse yet, the baby bellas were few and far between.  The fruit salad side was just okay.


The prices at Le Bistro are too high for their inferior food.  Your lunch will cost you about $9 plus drink and tip at Le Bistro, but you can go downtown to Captain Ratty's or Morgan's for a consistently decent lunch that will cost about $7 plus drink and tip.  Just down the road from Le Bistro, Bella Cucina offers an array of tasty salads and entrees for lunch that range from $6.50 - $8.49.  Stacia's may have a new name, but what is really needed here is a complete makeover of the menu and decor.  Robert Irvine, please come quickly.

Monday, October 3, 2011

SUPER-EASY MUSSELS DINNER


Here's an idea for a super quick, easy and delicious dinner.  Pier 33 Gourmet fully cooked frozen mussels are available at Harris Teeter in two flavors.  We like the tomato and garlic sauce version.

When they go on sale, I always buy a few and stash them in the freezer for when I don't want to cook.  Directions are on the box.  I usually just put the unwrapped frozen mussels in a skillet and heat them up.  Serve with some crusty bread and dipping oil.