Bistro 1896 for brunch [Asheville, NC]
This morning we thought about trying Carmel's again since we had such a great experience; however, there are so many restaurants downtown so we decided to try something new or something we haven't frequented recently. So we thought Bistro 1896.
We had such a great experience there about 8 years ago when we were dating that we were sure it would again be a pleasant experience.
Our waitress Chrissy was wonderful. I asked her what she recommended and she bubbled with exuberance over several dishes that we were considering. So my husband got the Southern Comfort (baked cheese grits with scrambled eggs, cajun shrimp, and fried green tomatoes.) I got the Salmon Benedict with a side of fruit.
About 25 minutes into our wait my husband noticed that only two tables in the whole restaurant had food. Food started arriving at about the 30 minute mark. The couple beside us had ordered the same thing. The lady immediately told the waitress that her food was cold and it was returned for warming.
Tables outside were being served and several of them received the Southern Comfort dish while this lady continued to eat and her husband finished his "warm" breakfast. She finally got up and went to the kitchen and asked for her meal. Which was returned with rubbery shrimp.
So when my husband got his he discovered that his food was also cold. I took a bite and he was right. Stone cold. Mine, however, was delicious. The sad thing was the waitress took his plate and returned it from the microwave just a minute or two later. The shrimp shells still on his plate.
She took the price of the meal off our bill, but it ruined the whole experience. With so many good brunch restaurants in Asheville you must have an up to par breakfast or people will not return. I guess they count on tourists.
I hope they were just having an off morning, but slow service and cold food make my decision for a brunch restaurant in the future much easier.
I’m not surprised. A few years ago I did a working interview there. I was amazed at the low quality of product, and lame techniques they applied. Tiny dry "burned" grilled shrimp being put atop a Caesar salad. Sautéing with cold pans, starting with strait cream. Resulting in not getting that oh so important seared caramelized goodness. I saw dry shriveled pickle spears being put with sandwiches. Disorganization, and lack of basic cleanliness of the place. I was asked back, but declined.