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Bistrot La Minette

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spike74 Nov 7, 2011 05:29 AM

Went here with my spouse for a birthday dinner Saturday night. Beautiful space with French Bitro feel, molding on walls and celing, hanging copper pots at enterance to open kitchen. Loved the decor.

Food was very good but not great. Service was okay.

They brought us cheese puffs to start which were lukewarm and tasted like they were defrosted from the frozen section of a grocery store. The bread was good but came with overly salted butter. Maybe that's the French style but was a bit potent. Starters were a big improvement. My spouse had mussels with a tasty cream sauce. She said they were the best mussels she ever had. I enjoyed the squash soup but thought the dollop of cream on top was too large and overwhelmed the soup when it melted. I loved the rabbit with homemade pasta and gravy though it was a tad too salty. Spouse liked her salmon special which was pan cooked. Can' t remember vegetables with it.
I loved chocolate pudding which was rich but not too rich and really creamy. Spouse had a beautiful looking spounge cake that wasn't her ideal choice.

Server made a point of telling us his favorites for each course without our asking. He did this for neighboring table as well. My spouse thought it was just part of his style. I felt like he was trying to push items that weren't selling as well. He didn't give a reason why he liked the items like "the sauce really brings out the flavor of the fish...". He just said "my favorite is x..." He also tried to rush us. The entrees appeared the minute the appetizers were removed and he arrived with the dessert menus the second the entrees disappeared. He didn't ask if we wanted dessert, just assumed we did. When I asked for more time to decide after he reappeared a minute after leaving the dessert menus, he seemed surprised. We had to call him back, like he was offended we didn't answer the first time. My wife asked for a scoop of vanilla ice cream with her cake which they brought and then charged us for a second dessert. I understand adding a few dollars for the ice cream (though in a nice restaurant like this they could have just given it too us as I've experienced in other places), but thought the complete dessert charge was excessive. I didn't complain about it as I didn't want to disrupt meal. The server also dropped the check on the table without our asking for it. There was no one waiting for table. We were in and out in about 90 minutes and according to computer by front door there was at least 30 minute until next reservation arrived for our table.

Overall, beautiful location, really good food, so-so service. Spent about $150 for the two of us including one glass of wine each and the three desserts.

  1. c
    Chefpaulo Nov 7, 2011 07:46 AM

    Haughty, know-it-all wait staff are always a turn-off, especially when trying to push things that chef may have over-prepped. And the unsolicited check drop is tantamount to saying, "Beat it." What if you had wanted a cordial or second coffee? Very unprofessional. IMHO, such service is far from okay. Thanks for the heads up.
    CP

    1. i
      isadorasmama Nov 7, 2011 02:16 PM

      We were also unpleasantly surprised by the lackluster service. Our first waitress rolled her eyes when I told her I am gluten free. Another waiter saw and came over to apologize.
      Also, the bartender confided that he wasn't a spirits drinker. Not really a drinker at all. Why would you have someone tend bar who doesn't know anything about spirits?

      1 Reply
      1. re: isadorasmama
        Bacchus101 Dec 13, 2011 08:22 AM

        The lack of service then the eye rolling insult would have had me on my way. A non-spirit drinker would be a very desirable bartender; if he know his craft, sort of a fox guarding the hen house thing reversed. i also would suppose if one is very professional they could know more from the study of drinks than from the drinking. Have known some extremely good BTs who only drank beer.

      2. s
        sylviag Nov 7, 2011 03:10 PM

        Sorry to hear this about Bistro La Minette. We have been there a few times and always had a very positive experience. Was there a ball game on in the back while you were there?
        It's hard to picture this happening. I remember enjoying everything, including the bread and butter.
        Maybe you should let the owner know about your complaints. No on wants the serving staff to keep people away.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sylviag
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          spike74 Nov 8, 2011 04:49 AM

          No ballgame on. They had a private party but our waiter wasn't involved and it had no visible impact on service.

          I live out of town so my complaints probably wouldn't carry much weight.

          1. re: spike74
            a
            arepo Sep 25, 2012 09:08 AM

            Ball game on? You mean there is a TV going? Doesn't that mean it is rather dark in there with a large bar area?
            How many tables does it serve?

        2. b
          Bigley9 Nov 9, 2011 06:57 AM

          I am sorry to hear about this as well. I had a poor experience with service the first time I went to Bistrot La Minette but it was early on and it was wonderful after that. I haven't been in a bit (8 mons maybe?) and I am hoping this isn't a common situation (although the two experiences described would keep me away if it happened to me)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bigley9
            k
            kagoo Dec 5, 2011 11:53 AM

            Take heart, La Minette fans. We were there last week. Food was excellent. Service was professional -- solicitous but not intrusive. We didn't order dessert or coffee, but lingered over the last of our wine, and did not feel rushed in the least.

          2. u
            urbanfabric Dec 8, 2011 06:25 AM

            Went with my husband last night for the first time and had a great experience. The food was really spectacular. Started with the grilled sardines and snails. Loved that the snails came in tiny individual pots, they were tender and a good size with the tiniest of croutons on top. Had the duck confit and rabbit as our mains. I thought both were well balanced, not salty, and perfectly cooked. Our service was extremely professional, when there was a check mix up, I barely had to say the words and it was whisked away with "my apologies." We were asked at the end of the meal if we wanted anything else, allowing us to say we were finished and then brought the check.

            Maybe mid-week is a good time? It was still a little busy (they were also doing the Yards beer dinner). From the hostess to the server to the food, we were really impressed. Actually just looked on our receipt to see who our server was: Evan.

            1 Reply
            1. re: urbanfabric
              s
              sylviag Dec 8, 2011 06:33 AM

              We have been loving this place. We have been there on weekends and had no problem.
              We do tend to eat early, so maybe the service is not as good later. But the food - oooh la la!

            2. r
              redshale Dec 10, 2011 01:09 PM

              I'm also surprised about the service complaints. We've eaten there about five or six times over the past 18 months, and have always found the waitstaff to be professional and informative.

              1. g
                george2 Dec 26, 2011 08:55 AM

                Four of us went to BLM a few weeks ago and had a very good experience. Our waiter, Briton, was professional and friendly; the antithesis of a haughty salesman. My foie gras appetizer and rabbit and mustard entree were both great, except I would've liked a bit more bite to the rather mild mustard sauce. The rest of the table was pleased with their meals.

                All of us had been to bibou (my wife and I two weeks before and after) and while BLM is a notch or three below, we'd certainly return. The $15 corkage fee is reasonable, and we bought two good wines with us.

                1. RC51Mike Aug 20, 2012 04:42 AM

                  My son who lives in Phila. suggested going here for a Sunday lunch so I looked at a few old threads including this one, some about the proper spelling of bistrot, some about what a bistrot is or is not, some who has the best food and some whatever cat fight some boards seem to incite. In any event, I thought I'd report that our meal was absolutely perfect. It was nice weather for sitting outside and we started with a cocktail and a pitcher of very good house wine.

                  My son had sole in brown butter sauce and I had duck confit. the duck had a crispy skin. It was not greasy but very rich. Both were delicious. But the star of the table was my wife's poached eggs with mussels in a tarragon cream sauce. Simply amazing. My son opted for the $25 prix fixe so he also had a nice cheese plate and dessert included. House made bread was outstanding and they provided plenty.

                  We had noticed that two other tables had gotten their plats principaux well before us even though we were the first customers. Frankly, we didn't care because we were having such a good time and said nothing. So, when I told our waiter I'd be having the raspberry dessert like my son, he looked a little disappointed. Turns out he had already ordered complementary desserts for my wife and I to make up for the lapse in our order.

                  Needless to say our service, food and experience were great and my wife and I both agreed it was one of our all time most memorable meals. We're already looking forward to going back for dinner.

                  1. c
                    Cheesesteak Sep 25, 2012 07:32 AM

                    I just made a reservation for Saturday and I'm pretty excited about it. Anyone been here recently?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Cheesesteak
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                      lsmutko Sep 25, 2012 01:18 PM

                      We were there in mid-August and everyone loved it. We had a large table for 8, it was a birthday, and that can often be a problem with service and pacing but it was not. Service was great, and the pace allowed us to not feel rushed or abandoned. The menu has changed now, so I can't really recommend anything specifically, but everything we had was top-notch and we all had a wonderful experience.
                      Pre-dinner cocktails were all well-made and tasty.
                      The gougere amuse was warm and wonderful.
                      The escargot app (which seems to be a menu stallwart) was delicious.

                      1. re: lsmutko
                        c
                        Cheesesteak Oct 1, 2012 08:54 AM

                        What a great place. It seems like the type of place that you hope just stays there forever. We had a great dinner on Saturday night. A pitcher of the cheap red wine, some foie gras, escargo, a little duck, finish with some coffee and chocolate, what could be better? If you're into comfortable, satisfying, unpretentious French food, do yourself a favor and make a reservation. It was an excellent start to the fall dining season.

                        1. re: Cheesesteak
                          a
                          arepo Oct 2, 2012 05:07 AM

                          Thanks to y'all, reservation made.

                          1. re: Cheesesteak
                            Bacchus101 Oct 2, 2012 06:51 AM

                            Yes, thanks Cheese. Been reading and listening for opinions on BLM. Seems, based on subsequent reviews that Spike may have hit a bad night, stuff happens but it is unfortunate especially when expectations are high.

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