We just went for lunch this week and I was unfortunately underwhelmed. I really expected it to be great. The place is very pretty and spotlessly clean so I did love the atmosphere. The lunch choices were limited. I chose the crab cakes and my DH chose a salad. You know, I can't even remember the type of salad - I think it was a Cobb but I tried it as well and it was just a "make at home" quality salad. The crab cakes were small and not seasoned much and served on a vinegarette of cold carrot and a few miniscule pieces of cauliflower with some unidentifiable sauce. We both wished we had tried the burger. But it's not really a "burger" kind of setting.
I really think this style of restaurant is lacking in Austin (small, lots of atomosphere, adult oriented). The menu needs to be more interesting for me. Not overly expensive, just not really worth the trip.
I went a couple of weeks ago on a wednesday. The Wednesday special was braised beef ribs (bones removed) on risotto in some kind of reduction. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well executed with good match of flavors. The little outdoor dining area was preferable for us, since it tends to get a clubby feel inside at night.
Bess Review -
Was really looking forward to checking Bess out and curious as to how much of the Sandra Bullock factor would be in play at the restaurant.
Dined last night and really enjoyed the open air patio for a glass of wine while waiting for our table as well as the below street level dining room. The room clearly was well thought out when designed with a good combination of energy yet some degree of intimacy by virtue of banquettes, columns, and the use of the space.
Friendly server and about the only glitch the whole night was in bringing 3 entrees to the table while waiting about 1 minute before the 4th was plated and ready to be served. A pet peeve of mine when dining out and not very difficult to avoid. Attentive and solid service throughout the meal.
Interesting the wine list on their web site includes vintages yet the menu itself at the restaurant does not. Really no excuse for this with laser printers and menus printed fresh weekly or when needed.
Shared app of an off menu special calamari & crawfish tails. Pretty tasty, well executed and totally fine dish if not necessarily inspired. Next up the herb & butter lettuce salad which was a really nice summer salad. Light, flavorful and enjoyable.
Entree's at our table included the steak frite, porcini crusted halibut, grilled salmon and the special last night - sausage stuffed quail. Everyone shared and everyone really enjoyed all four dishes. The restaurant is clearly living up to the Bistro name and identity. This was solid tasty food in a very enjoyable atmosphere. The menu is relatively small and focused (which I believe a good thing). I found myself checking my expectations a time or two and quickly looking around the room and saying to myself "ok I get it".
One observation that was humerous to us was the D.J. spinning records along the wall of the main room (female looked to be early 20's). The music was kept at an appropriate level based upon a full room which was loud but not at all problematic in conversing around the table. Seemed a tad over the top, but, oh well, it was interesting.
Desserts weren't overly impressive. Apple crisp was anything but with underbaked crust and not much flavor. Choc Pecan Pie was pretty well received by our table.
So, will I be back? Yes, I will and look forward to trying some other items next time. As for Sandra, if you didn't know, you'd never know.