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Bistro St. Tropez - Don't bother

c
cook262 Sep 28, 2011 07:45 AM

Went to BST last week as part of the Restaurant Week. We had been given a Groupon or Living Social or some sort of discount to BST. Our meal was awful. It was a 4 course meal for $35. The first course was supposed to be Vichyssoise (sp?) but when waitress told us there was a change to a warm potato leek soup. Hmmm...someone forget to chill the Vichy or did someone add too much stock so it watered down too much to be Vichy? Our fears were confirmed. The soup arrived barely warm and was completely tasteless....like dishwater. Couldn't get hold of our waitress so finally my husband put his arm out and actually stopped another one to ask for S&P, which she provided but wouldn't leave at the table. Escargot appetizer and Mediterranean plate were so-so....not great, not inedible like the soup. Entrees were way overcooked, tough duck and their signature skate wing. Skate wasn't too bad but as with every other dish, it was barely warm and needed seasoning. Nothing felt like it was cooked to order but rather cooked way ahead since it was restaurant week. Desserts, however, were actually good. In addition to this all, our waitress had too many tables. She was really trying hard but she never had time for us as she was constantly at other tables helping them.

Don't know if this way below average food/service was due to Restaurant Week or if it's always this way but we would not go back again. Thank goodness we had a discount or we'd be really annoyed.

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  1. c
    cwdonald Sep 28, 2011 08:13 AM

    Thanks for the review... I have not been there in a while, and am sorry to hear the food is not up to snuff... especially considering the space is really nice with the great view of the Philadelphia skyline.

    You also raise a great issue... is it fair to dismiss a restaurant due to a horrible experience during Restaurant. Personally I try to avoid RW like the plague, but it should be a good way to try a restaurant at a fair price.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cwdonald
      m
      Misha Sep 28, 2011 09:28 AM

      I agree that it might be due to Restaurant Week. I've FINALLY learned to avoid that entirely since the food is rarely up to snuff. Plus, the menus generally do not play to the restaurant's strengths but instead are populated with lower-cost items and tiny portions.

      I went to Tinto for the first time during RW and based on my experience, would never return. Figure it was atypical of the food that's normally served since so many people rave about it. Might take a bit of doing but eventually I'll give it another shot.

    2. sockii Sep 28, 2011 10:57 AM

      I went there once during Restaurant Week and had a similarly dreadful experience (although mine also featured the waiter with B.O. from hell). Someone convinced me to go back later on a regular night and it was much better - not one of the city's finest, maybe, but pleasant enough.

      1. m
        missirish Sep 28, 2011 11:59 AM

        I went during RW last week as I've never been to Bistro St Tropez before and It was just terrible. I am willing to forgive certain things during RW but some of what happened during my dinner, there is just no excuse. The Vichy was warm and bland, Mediterranean plate was missing several items (and our waitress didn't say a word about being out of anything), the duck was missing the demi glace, the risotto was so bland I had a tear in my eye for such a waste. We finished our pitcher of Sangria and nobody bothered to ask if we wanted another. In fact, I think I saw our waitress twice, when she took our order and when she dropped off the check. A different food runner brought each course out and it took forever. The place was about half full. The best part of the meal? The rolls.

        1 Reply
        1. re: missirish
          c
          cook262 Sep 28, 2011 12:31 PM

          Ah, our experience exactly...including with the wine. My wine was finished and I wanted a second glass to go with the entree :) and couldn't flag down the waitress. The only difference in our experiences was that our food was wayyyy TOO fast to come out. They didn't possibly have time to cook it from when they took out the old dishes and brought out the new course. We felt so rushed we could hardly think.

          And to the posters mentioning avoiding RW, it was my birthday and I was a bit wary of RW but thought we'd try.

          One of the worst parts was the hostess up front. It was pouring rain when we arrived so our raincoats were soaked. She let us drip our way through the restaurant to our table and THEN asked if we'd like her to hang our coats. Why did she wait to ask then? And then she was confused on how to handle my husband's hat. A waiter passing by had to tell her to put it on the shelf above the coats. And we saw her repeat this exact same routine with the dripping wet coats at the next table. When we were ready to leave, the hostess was so busy explaining to a group of 10 with 8pm reservations that their table wasn't quite ready and it might be a while that she ignored us waiting for our coats. Fortunately this time the door to the coats was open and we just grabbed them and left, along with the hat. So much for any kind of security.

          All in all, the experience was so bad I wouldn't bother to return.

        2. s
          sylviag Sep 28, 2011 12:47 PM

          When my sister asked me a while back whether to buy the coupon for Bistro St. Tropez, I advised against it. It hasn't been good for a long time.
          It's a shame. Years back, it was quite lovely and the food was good.
          After a couple of negative experiences in the last few years, we have stayed away.

          As far as Restaurant Week goes, my advice is: stick to the steakhouses. They don't skimp, they are used to being classy, and it's a good deal. There may be a few other good places; we'll await further reports.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sylviag
            c
            cook262 Sep 28, 2011 01:16 PM

            good idea, actually, to get reports for RW...maybe I'll start a new thread....would like hearing what worked/didn't work this go-round

          2. t
            tfalbo Sep 29, 2011 07:24 AM

            As a counterpoint, we went to BST during the recent RW with a couple of friends and had a fine time.

            It wasn't very crowded (to say the least), and a Wednesday, so perhaps that played a role. The chef even had time to come out and visit with us, as an indication of the traffic level.

            But our Vichy was chilled and agreeable, service attentive (including wine refills, and also accomodating a dairy restriction - [ok, quick aside, I love when a server that isn't sure if there is dairy involved or not will take the extra minute to run back to the kitchen to be sure, which our server did on 2 separate occassions]), and all food came out as advertised. I don't know that I'd say the food was other-worldly by any means, but, as has been mentioned, that's not necesarrily my expectation going into an RW week meal either. And while portions and presentations trended towards minimalism, I think that's another expectation for RW.

            It is a neat space with a great view of the city, and when I paid my check I didn't feel like we'd been had. Unfortunately it seems like my experience is in the minority on this one!

            1 Reply
            1. re: tfalbo
              b
              barryg Sep 29, 2011 07:45 AM

              It almost sounds like the chef wasn't in the kitchen during OP's experience.

            2. a
              Adree1 Oct 9, 2011 07:00 PM

              that is a shame to hear about the poor meal at Bistro St. Tropez. My husband and I went there 3 months ago with the Living Social Deal and had an excellent meal with excellent service. They were very accomodating, especially with expediting the meal so we could get to the Phillies Game. After the meal we had, I was hoping to get back there again sometime soon.

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