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Jun 28, 2007 09:00 AM

Downtown Bistro, Lynn,MA

New restaurant in Lynn on Oxford Street called Downtown Bistro. Food was good and prices reasonable.

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  1. Long time reader ... don't usually post but I figured I would bump this thread. Found the website and was interested to see that David Fitzgerald was back as chef in this space. Never made it when he was there at Oxford ... would be interested in other reports.

    Here's the link:

    1. This looks like a good trade-off: got rid of the obnoxious owner, got the original Oxford Street Grill chef back. Menu looks interesting, eclectic: some French, some Asian, a lot of seafood, a couple of fusion-y things. The short rib shumai sounds like an OSG dish I loved. Definitely adding this one to the list.

      4 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        MC, I am waiting for your intrepid dining self to get there and sample and report back. Make haste, young chow!!!!

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          So, MC, did you ever get to the Downtown Bistro?
          Anybody else have an update??

          1. re: oldhound

            It's definitely on my list; thanks for the reminder!

            1. re: oldhound

              They have new interesting martinis. All the cocktails are done with fresh juice. They are so good. The food is still delicious with a creative presentation. If you check their website they have wine tasting diinners. Not expensive at all.

          2. Food was awful, service was worse

            7 Replies
            1. re: Macarn

              I'm sort of surprised, given the long track record this chef has. Could you elaborate about your experience, Macarn?

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                I'm thinking maybe he wasn't on site. When he worked at Oxford Street, we went over 30 times, loved the food and stopped going after he left because the food wasn't as good. We were really excited about this new place and couldn't wait to try it. The minute we sat down, I told my husband I had a funny feeling about the place. Our waitress was one of the worse I've ever had and trust me, we've had plenty. It took her over 10 minutes to even come to our table, another 10 to bring the wine and another 40 after we were done with the appetizers to bring our dinners.The mushroom soup which used to be the best was thin and tasteless. I've never seen my husband add so much salt and pepper to a dish. I ordered the Filet Oscar, it could have been because it was the last one, but it was a lousy cut of meat. But, in addition, the dish came cold, My husband had the hangar steak which he said was fair, but in fairness, I never judge anyone's cooking abilities around hangar steak becasue it's a tough cut to begin with. After I sent my meal back (I go out to dinner 3-4 times a week and this is the first time ever in my life that I did this, but I was so steamed wih her at this point) a very nice gentleman apologized, never saw her again except for the check. The irony of this is it wasn't even crowded. I told my husband that Dave Fizgerald had to have been off, from my past experiences with him, I can't imagine he was there. We were looking forward to a great place to eat beause there aren't any in the area, bu I can't imagine we'll go back. We'll stick to Pellana's in Peabody.

                1. re: Macarn

                  My husband and i had dinner there this past saturday and had a great experence. We are both big fans of the Navy Yard Bistro (same owner) and we figured we would try Downtown Bistro.

                  1. re: inmanchick

                    I'm thinking Sunday is not the night to go where they're closed on Mondays and maybe they're using the last of the food for the week. I was very surprised at our experience as I was looking forward to a nice place to go that isn't owned by an obnoxious snob (I'm not referring to Lowell, I'm referring to the owner of the only other good restaurant in the area)

                    1. re: Macarn

                      Just curious, Macarn, what other restaurants in the area do you enjoy (including the veiled reference above, if you'll dish--pardon the pun)? I am always looking to try North Shore spots.

                      1. re: BillieJean

                        We have tried every restaurent from Boston, Cambridge up to Gloucester. Pellanas in Peabody is my favorite. Duckworth's in Gloucester is also very good. I will try the Bistro again because I'm hearing great things about it. What readers need to realize is not only was the service horrendous, the food was worse. Our experience had nothing to do with getting the "kinks" out of a new place, it wen tdeeper than that. I think it was an "off" night and I only expect great things from it in the future.

                2. re: MC Slim JB

                  Long track record at a lot of places. I don't think the food was worse than the service, but I'll believe bad service and budget-cutting food.

              2. ive been twice. definitely a great meal. They kept the shumai dumplings on the menu, which are outstanding. my steak was fantastic both times (once as the special).

                as for the service, I never had a problem. On one visit we brought our 3 month old, and the staff was friendly, accommodating, and attentive. i suppose slow service at a new place isn't to be unexpected as they iron out the kinks ,but I experienced none of it.

                7 Replies
                1. re: cgerv

                  I don't think the above diners ate at the same restaurant that we did because this was one of the best restaurants we have been to so I must agree with cgerv. A good friend and self-proclaimed food-snob told us to eat at the Downtown Bistro. A great addition to the North Shore. Let's face it...restaurants around the North Shore come and go so quickly, we barely have time to eat our appetizers! This place is different...excellent food (still haven't stopped talking about it), great price, extensive wine list, knowledgeable servers. We ate there on a Saturday evening and loved the entire experience. The server was friendly and knew the menu from front to back. Suggested a nice wine for our filet and salmon, which were both cooked perfectly. The host was coureous and offered us a selection of tables. Anyone who dines at a new restaurant shouldn't expect perfecion...come's new and different. Let's give local businesses a chance...this one certainly deserves it. Only suggestion--the walls are a bit bare and the music was a tad too loud, but we would most definitely travel the 35 miles to eat at the Downtown Bistro and Wine Bar again!

                  1. re: dining_out

                    Thanks for the encouraging review, dining_out. I have had good luck with this chef at past venues, so I've attributed the mixed reviews so far to Downtown's newness. Any dishes that stood out in your memory? What's the menu like in general? Did you get a cocktail or wine, and if so, any comments?

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      Thinking about giving the Bistro a try. Has anyone had a more recent experience? (Hoping they've ironed out the newbie-kinks...) This area def. needs something refreshing like this restaurant.

                      1. re: threedogs

                        Husband and I wnet about two weeks ago and enjoyed it. I started with the shumai dumplings which were wonderful as always. Husband had a seafood appetizer and enjoyed it as well. Both of us were craaving steak so we didn't get any of the more adventurous items on the menu. Steaks were both good though. Both of us had a glass of white wine with our apps and then a bottle of red with the mains. Good selection, reasonably priced -- particularly liked the Sauvignon Blanc I tried. Waiter was attentive and knowlegeable as well. I agree that the walls are bare and it can be a bit noisy. But the food compensates for those shortcomings. Let's hope that they find a devoted clientele and survive. Lord knows the area needs a restaurant like this.

                        1. re: redbird

                          Thanks, redbird. Sounds good.

                          I'm planning to visit soon - I'm very strapped for cash, so I am planning this well ahead (along with a visit to Chinatown for dim sum - these are my Self Indulgent Rewards - a chowhound necessity!)

                      2. re: MC Slim JB

                        Sorry for the delay in responding. We had the Petite Oscar with the crab and asparagus and bernaise sauce--absolutely mouth-watering! The salmon was also great--I think it was a ginger/sake dusting, but my memory fails. I just remember it being excellent. The menu is really great. A little something for everyone and it's fairly priced. The wine selection is phenomenal, and like I said before the server we had knew what she was talking about. I believe she suggested the a red zinfindel, but again my memory fails.

                        I was reading the reviews below and here's my suggestion: we have eaten at a lot of restaurants, some great and some not-so-great, many in Boston and many on the North and South Shores, but one think I've learned is not to judge a place by the first impression. Yes, first impressions count, but every NEW restaurant deserves a second and sometimes a third chance. We were very impressed with this place and they definitely have two life-long patrons!

                        1. re: dining_out

                          I agree - starting out is not easy, and there are countless challenges that we, in front, never see. I certainly hope this place succeeds - we need it here in the North Shore, and especially in Lynn.

                  2. JUST got back from dinner. Here is my take.
                    -Called yesterday to do a reservation for tonight at 7:30. Was told "no problem, just come in." Came in with our party of 4: no table. Was promised one in "7 minutes". 25 minutes later (just as we were voicing our displeasure to the owner,who spent more time talkiing about how much money he was losing every day, rather than listening to us) a table opened up and we decided to try the place.
                    Food was very good and prices were reasonable. Service was not good and good food does not make up for very bad service.
                    After the no-reservation bit, I thought that the least they would do would be to offer a drink to us. No offer.
                    After dinner, dirty plates sat on table while waitress chatted and laughed with friends just behind our table, oblivious to dirty table. Never asked the person at our table who did not finish her meal if she wanted to take home the leftovers.
                    I really wanted to like this place, as it is so close and our options are limited, but it was a huge disappointment:

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: nahantcooks

                      Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I just ended my summer semester, so haven't been able to try it.

                      Sometimes I don't get it. I realize there is so much to operating an eating establishment - not easy by any means. But a place will def. fail if the quality is inconsistent - and when the word gets out, that's it. Now, granted, some reported good experiences but since my money is stretched (and will be for a while, since I'll be going to school, it seems, until the next century) I'm not willing to take a chance. I'd rather spend my money where they are dedicated to quality.

                      1. re: nahantcooks

                        While it's not an excuse, I think that the service problems you experienced were due to the "3rd Thursday" celebration in Central Square last night.

                        They should have accepted your reservation, knowing that they would get more patrons than usual... but I think it deserves another chance.