Monday , 22 December 2014

Review: Bellevue Bistro – Can the Food Make Up for Everything Else?

I’m always on the lookout for new breakfast/brunch spots.  I love breakfast and the one thing my husband and I do is always, always take the time to sit down Sunday mornings.  Whether we stay home and cook or go out varies but the one constant is that we always have breakfast before going grocery shopping, running errands, cleaning, etc.

We had gone out Saturday night to my cousin’s graduation party/cookout and then headed to The Stand in Mt. Lookout to relax and enjoy the night.  After getting home and passing out, we were pretty fuzzy on Sunday morning, exacerbated by the fact that I woke up at 9 am and couldn’t get back to sleep.  Which means neither did he (Not that I had anything to do with that, I swear.  Maybe I accidently nudged/shook him and I might have been thinking aloud/insisting we head to breakfast but eh).  I just couldn’t motivate myself to make anything and we played the normal back and forth game of where do you want to go/where do you want to go?

After checking out my favorite site, Urbanspoon, Bellevue Bistro caught my eye.  Check out their website and menu here. Am I the only one who looks at menus for fun?  I think you can tell a lot about a place’s character/vibe by what they’re serving.  BB seemed to be beckoning me with the promise of something delicious and different than the normal eggs and hash browns fare.

Bellevue Bistro Logo

We arrived at about 10:30 and there were a few tables ahead of us.  It’s a smaller restaurant with nine tables inside and two outside but it has a homey/kitschy feel that I was into.  I was excited by the menu, the whole reason we went racing there in the first place, and couldn’t wait to dig in.  After waiting about ten minutes a table opened up and we were informed by a server to go ahead and grab it.  It was still dirty but that wasn’t a big deal, I figured they’d get to it and us shortly.

Five minutes later – the table is still dirty, two more tables have come in and sat down.

Five more minutes – table still dirty, both of the tables that came in after us have drinks.  One of the servers (I believe there were four different girls) finally stopped and asked if anybody had gotten us drinks.  After apologizing for our wait and the general craziness of the morning (I guess they’re not used to all of the tables being full?) she took our order and promised us drinks.  She also cleared the plate off the table but didn’t spray/wipe it down.  Luckily I’m not super ocd about that stuff, but still, you think she would at least have ran a damp towel over it (the table never did get cleaned our entire time there).

Ten minutes later – another server stopped by and asked if we had gotten our drinks yet.  After telling her that we asked for them and ordered our meal but hadn’t received them, she grabbed them for us (yay, finally a water – I was thirsty).

So we waited, and waited, and waited.  And waited some more.  I get that this is a smaller restaurant and probably only has one cook so I expected to wait.  I’d rather have awesome food that takes a bit longer than rushed food that doesn’t.  But let’s talk about another couple in the restaurant that I was anxious for.  It seemed like they had been there awhile and still didn’t have food.  Considering it seemed like they got there awhile before us, I knew if they didn’t have food our chances of getting any were slim.

About fifteen minutes after we got our drinks we watched a server finally approach the food-less table and asked if they had placed their order.  They said they did.

We waited another twenty minutes and that other table still didn’t have food.  I could literally see the guy at the table getting more and more frustrated (remember I have a service background i.e. twelve years of bussing/hostessing/serving/bartending so I’ve done it all front of the house wise).

Here’s my take on the servers.  They all seem like really nice girls who really do try to help you.  We had three different ones approach us.  But I felt like there was a definite lack of clear leadership.  Who was in charge?  Who was directing?

I’m extremely sympathetic to people in the service industry because I get it.  I don’t mind if they talk to each other.  I don’t care if my server takes a minute to eat, it’s not a big deal.  I’ve been there where I’ve been hungry and grabbed a bite between tables or had a drink.  But when you’ve got lots of people who are waiting and especially that other table that still didn’t have food, I could see how mad the man was getting when he saw them talking/drinking/eating and overheard him mutter, “At least we know there’s food being made since they’re eating.”

Why didn’t anyone approach that table, apologize, and offer them some biscuits or something to snack on while they waited?  I know they had to realize that the table didn’t have food (and did that one server who asked about the order ever follow up?) I had this insane urge to tell the servers that that table still didn’t have food and they needed to do something and I don’t even work there.  Finally, I watched that couple give up.  You could see how frustrated he was when he went to the girls behind the counter to tell them they were leaving.  I overheard the lady saying that they had been waiting over and hour and a half.  And I was worried, extremely worried. (We had been there about an hour not including the ten minutes waiting to get a table).

I think having the table walk out must have motivated them, because suddenly we had a server assure us our food was coming out in five minutes.  Right before this point I had already told my husband that I was giving them ten more minutes and then we were leaving and going to Keystone if we didn’t have anything by that point, which I felt was extremely reasonable considering it would have been sixty (I’m not including the ten minutes we waited at the table with no one helping us) minutes after we ordered.  Also keep in mind that two tables that ordered and came in after us already had their food.  In fact one of the tables was finishing up their breakfast.

And finally, nine minutes later and a minute before my cut-off time they brought our food out – yay!

Let’s talk food.  It was good.  Like really, really, super tasty good (and I don’t think it was all just hunger being the best seasoning although we were starving at that point).  That bacon jam was the perfect mix of salty/sweet and was fantastic on my goetta, cheddarjack, and whole wheat toast breakfast sandwich.  Those rosemary potatoes are probably some of the best potatoes I’ve gotten in a long, long time.  These were perfectly cooked with a spiced crust and were awesome (was it cooked in cast iron?).  My one qualm was that I wished they had offered me a choice on how I would like my egg cooked because I think a slightly runny egg would have just sent the whole thing over the top.

My husband got the pork loin benedict and I literally had to make him slow down because he just kept gobbling it down (it was that good and he was crazy hungry).  Pork loin, spinach, tomatoes, mozzarella, goat cheese and a fried egg all over a biscuit sounded good on the menu, and came out even better.  He even said that the biscuit was the best that he’s had in awhile and with the Bellevue Bistro barbecue sauce tying everything together it just worked.  I took a bite of his and agreed with its tastiness.  Whoever the chef was, they were rocking it.

And I apologize for the lack of pictures but considering how long we’d been waiting and how hungry we were I think my husband would have stabbed me with a fork if I had tried to stop him so I could take a picture.

We loved the food and we want to eat it again, but does the food make up for everything else?

Our bill totaled around $17 and I thought that the meals were at a good price point.  It would have been a nice gesture to not charge us for our iced tea as an apology but that didn’t happen.  (I was totally fine with paying for our food, we thoroughly enjoyed and ate it).

In the servers’ defense, we were checked on after our food came out and offered refills.  But at this point it was 11:45 and they started turning people away and closing down the restaurant (I think they’re supposed to be open until 2).  I overheard one of the servers say that they kept running out of food so I guess it makes sense to shut down but it’s a bit weird when the stated hours say 2pm versus till the food is gone (which some places do).  And our server did apologize again for everything that happened.

I think what confused me was the fact that there were a total of eleven tables and four servers but yet things were fallings through the cracks.  I wish there was more of a sense of teamwork and awareness.

I’m torn, I really am.  Because I loved their food but I’m hesitant to try it again.  Will the place be open?  Will I end up getting skipped over, waiting twenty minutes for water and over an hour for food at a never cleaned table?

Hmm…I honestly don’t know.  When it comes down to a choice between local and a chain, I’m going local every time but that has to be balanced out by the local choice being as good as if not better than.  I’m not going to a bad restaurant just because it’s local.   But Bellevue Bistro’s food isn’t bad and I’m hoping that it was just a random fluke morning and that it usually doesn’t run like that.

So I may try it again, we’ll see.  What do you think?  Should I give the place another shot or just skip it all together?

Bellevue Bistro on Urbanspoon

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