Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The New and Improved? Bistro on Lincoln Park

Bistro on Lincoln Park has had a lot of changes recently- new paint, new furniture, new lighting, new bar back splash, and...a new Executive Chef. Chef/partner Pete Joyce has stepped away, and Cory Hess moved up in the ranks to take on the Executive Chef position. So I was interested to check out all of the changes, and dragged a friend there for dinner.

To the untrained eye, there didn't seem to be much of a change in the atmosphere of the restaurant. I noticed new soft seating in the bar, better/softer lighting, but beyond that- the changes were lost on us. Luckily, a nice server pointed out all of the updates later in the evening. Overall, I'd say that the restaurant maintained the same "feel" of modern comfort with their upgrades. Now, on to the food (which I'm not sure if the menu was under Cory's control at this point or not, because Joyce has just announced that he had left).

We both started with the Cream of Mushroom soup with Ohio mushrooms, cream, shiitake salad, and mushroom powder ($7).The 6 oz. soup was, dare I say it, a close second to the famous AMP 150 Mushroom Soup. The soup was smooth, but with great pieces of mushroom throughout that added wonderful texture and enhanced the earthy flavor.

I was hoping for a lighter entree after enjoying the soup, so I ordered the Seared Ahi Tuna that was herb crusted with roasted garlic, potato puree, balsamic marinara, French beans, and Parmesan crisp ($26).This is where my experience at the re-vamped Bistro took a turn for the worse. The dish arrived, and I immediately saw that the tuna was smothered in tomato sauce. I was expecting more balsamic, less tomato, as balsamic vinegar is often paired with tuna. But the hearty flavors of tomato and the potato puree completely overwhelmed the subtle flavor of the fish. This pairing just didn't work for me. I kept thinking that lamb or even beef would have been better paired with this dish. It reminded me of a hearty fall dish that warms you from the inside out, but the tuna just didn't belong on that plate. Overall, the flavor of the other components was pleasant. I did express my opinion to our server when she asked how our meal was, and I bet that I won't be the only person to think that this pairing just doesn't work.

So even though I did not enjoy my entree, I look forward to returning to see how Hess does at the helm. I've always enjoyed their Happy Hour, and they offer 20 wines for $20- a good deal. If you haven't been yet, then I do suggest that you go check them out.

Bistro on Lincoln Park
2391 West 11th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 862-2969


Alicia at Poise in Parma said...

What a bummer about the tuna. I would have ordered that as well and would have had the same reaction to the tomato sauce. But with your recommendation, I will get that soup.

I'm happy you shared this experience at the "new" Bistro. I wondered how the changes would play out, but that was even before Joyce had left.

CLEgal @ Why CLE? said...

I definitely do want to try the revamped Bistro. But even looking at the tuna dish, the sides look all wrong with it.

Bite Buff said...

I'm glad that it's not just me, girls! Thanks for the comments.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me?! I had the tuna also and I would say that it is one of the best dishes I have ever eaten. I feel that the unexpected heartiness of the dish is what makes it so great. Its introducing you to a flavor profile that you never really see. Its an amazing dish and I crave it all the time! And you either need your taste buds checked or try it again!

Bite Buff said...

To each their own, Anonymous. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it. Since I am entitled to my opinion, I'll hold off on getting my taste buds checked.

Bite Buff said...

Bistro on Lincoln Park is now closed. June 2012.