Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review: Bistro on Lincoln Park

I appreciate any restaurant that provides vegetarian and vegan food in the CLE, and I really do give an establishment points for effort when it comes to deviating from standard meat and potatoes fare, number one rule when it comes to vegan food is that it shouldn't taste vegan.  And by tasting vegan, I mean what most non-vegan perceive vegan food to taste like - bland, uninspired, and not something you could eat on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, I had a vegan meal that tasted vegan at Bistro on Lincoln Park in Tremont this past weekend.  But I'll get to the meal in a minute.

Set in a couple of old houses on the edge of Lincoln Park in Tremont, Bistro on Lincoln Park has so much potential to be awesome.  Great location with tons of parking nearby. (or as much parking as you can generally find in Tremont) A nice patio.  Seemingly inventive menu items.  But...they immediately lost me at the service and things went rapidly downhill from there. 

We were awkwardly seated on the patio by the hostess who sort of plunked down our menus and walked away.  Considering that it was a hot day, I thought we might have been given some water.  But we weren't, and that was fine.  Our waiter timidly approached us quite a few minutes later to give us some water and ask if we wanted drinks.  I say "timidly" because he seemed either really new as a server or just not comfortable talking to strangers.  Either of which are bad things in a restaurant with moderately priced entrees where a patron might need to ask about said items.  We asked said waiter if the bartender could make a Moscow Mule.  He said they could and then scurried off, not asking if we wanted an appetizer.  When he returned, he informed us that he was wrong about the mules and suggested we order from the drink list instead.  My boyfriend asked what our server would recommend, and he told us he doesn't really drink.  That's fine, but at least pretend, ok buddy?

I ordered a pear martini (ok, but not awesome) and again the waiter scurried off for what seemed like an eternity.  When he arrived back with my drink, we had to let him know we'd like to order dinner.  I would have thought he would have wanted to expedite the process of taking care of our table, but he just didn't seem all that interested in serving us.  I ordered the vegan pot pot - because I've never seen a vegan pot pie on a menu before. I used to love the vegetarian pot pies my mom cooked (frozen, not from scratch, but they were still good) for me when I was a kid.  My boyfriend ordered scallops because he loves them and I hate it when he cooks them in our house.

While waiting for my meal, the waiter brought us a break basket - or 10 cracker like bread sticks and two rolls.  I was starving and dug into a cracker and was disappointed to find that it was really buttery and also a little stale. 

When my meal arrived, I was completely disappointed.  I had expected a flakey, gooey pot pie, not a deconstructed version, dripping with oil and chock full of peas.  It was completely flavorless except for the grease.  The "crust" was too tough to eat and the potato puree that was at the bottom of the dish didn't really do anything to enhance the dish.  It was just a big white smear on the plate.  It also had white asparagus which I find to be pretty "meh."

My boyfriend's scallops weren't much better.  In contrast, his dish had too many flavors, and they weer all fighting with each other.

Since our meal was so very disappointing, I was very glad that I had a Groupon.  Our server had some difficulty figuring out how to process the Group and took my phone with him to show the manager, which was a little odd, but I was just happy to finally be acknowledged so I could get the heck out of there.

Overall, I think the concept of Bistro on Lincoln Park is great but for the price, they need to have better service and significantly better food.  I can't say I'll be going back anytime soon.

Have you dined at Bistron on Lincoln Park? And if so, have you had a similar experience?

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