Vivir: putting my money where my mouth is
So, last week I found 29 spelling errors on their to go menu. Then I mailed a corrected version to them in the mail, trying to help them along. Yesterday, I put my money where my mouth is and stopped in Vivir for lunch.
I came in and there was no one to seat me. I waited for a few. One of the cooks , I don't think the "chef" came from the kitchen and told me, " the girl is in back. Sit anywhere you like. " So I did. She came out and gave me a menu, the one with 29 spelling errors. Fair enough. Its a restaurant, not a spelling bee right? I asked for a coke. She looked at me and said, " Diet?". I guess I've put on a few pounds over the holidays. " No, coke, please". " She asked again, " Diet Coke?". I then said, " no thanks, Coke, the 'original' " She then held a can of coke in one hand and a hand of Diet Coke in the other and said, " which one?". I then started speaking with her IN SPANISH so I copuld drive the point home, " COKE, con azucar, COKE regular, por supuesto." The coke came, with ice....a great start.
Then a small plate of plantains came, slightly warm, not greasy, a little salt. Quite good. It was accompanied with a small bowl of salsa and guacamole. Both were good. The salsa was cold, as I like it, with a touch of lime juice. The guac was fresh. I ordered an artichoke dip appetizer and a grilled skirt steak sandwich.
I looked around the room and noticed that almost NOTHING had changed sinced the Little Bistro days. Same tables and chairs, same paint job, same photos of the neighborhood opn the walls. As well, I found it odd that the bottles of soda and wine and beer in the cubbies and shelves were off center, turned labels side away, out of line, just not looking right. The prep station towards theback was rthe same. Nothing changed except a big " Hambre?" on the wall, which was cute. It seemed odd that new owners had all the chances in the world to really change the Little Bistro vibe but had done close to noithing. On another non food note, Mexican npop music was BLARING loud. I love music and I love Mexican music. This was over the top. And I was the ONLY person in this place. Me, a cook and " the girl".
So the artichoke dip and the sandwich came, at the same time even though the " girl" said that the appetizer would come first. It was odd. Picture a small ramekin of whipped artichokes with mayo, maybe a little salt. It was whipped to the consistency of mayo. The toast points were oven toasted thin slices of REALLY crappy stale bread. It was Ok but tasted like soimething I'd get at the Olive Garden, or worse. Then the sandwich. There was a medium sized sandwich- skirt steak a few grilled onions and peppers on REALLY crappy stale bread with some kind of mayo- I'm guessing a chipotle ketchup mayo. I must say the steak was cooked perfectly, had a nice charred taste and was spiced just right. The bread killed it. Awful bread. Worse than bodega baguette. Worse. The fries that came with it must have been prepped HOURS back as they were between lukewarm and cold, and dry, and hard. Chewy hard. I did not eat more than a handful. Yuck. The slaw was your standard over mayoed over sugared red cabbage slaw but I swear they used cream instead of mayo, which some slaws have. This just didn't make it though.
An odd appetizer, a decent sandwich on AWFUL bread, inedible fries nd questionable slaw.
15 bucks, the a nice tip as I felt bad for "the girl".
This place is doomed.
Thanks for taking the plunge! I've walked by the place numerous times since it opened and have never seen more than a couple tables occupied.
I forgot to mention.
2/3rds of the way into the meal, the Mexican music changed to Bonnie Tyler's " Total Eclipse of the Heart" at SOARINGLY HIGH volume.
I started for the restroom, contemplating suicide, but stayed to finished the sandwich, sans bread.
I pass this place almost every day on the way home and I have not once seen even 1 table occupied. I only see 2 line cooks hanging out the window to the kitchen. I, too, noticed all the spelling errors. Normally, it's just a pet peeve of mine and nothing more. But, some of them are so bad you can't comprehend what the dish is. For example, "chorizo grapped". Is that simply a chorizo wrap?
Does anyone actually know what happened to Little Bistro??? I know people had mixed feelings, but I was a huge advocate, thought the food was just excellent, just inventive enough and thought the owner was so lovely. I was heartbroken to walk by one day and just see the whole place covered in newspaper.
Dunno where those folks went but I've gotta say: I've had VERY mixed results there. A few dinners were spot on great. A few lunches the same, then they fell off HARD. So, so so so so bad. I gave them 4 chances in a row then never returned. Bummer as the dinner were seriously good. Nice owner, agreed. Dunno what happened there.