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Bess's Bistro Revisited


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Restaurants & Bars Austin

Bess's Bistro Revisited

gntlmn6464 | | Oct 25, 2007 07:11 AM

An old college buddy and I ate at Sandra Bullock's place last night, inspite of the less than tepid reviews on Chowhound. With overwhelmingly low expectations I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised! First let me praise our server, Amy, who was one of the nicest surprises of the evening. She made us feel at home, was attentive but not overbearing, she was very knowledgeable about the food and was right on the money with her recommendations. The . The restaurant is downstairs and somehow walking under the awning and down the stairs transports you into a total restaurant experience. The space itself is very comfortable, albeit claustrophobic with the low ceilings. Its hard to explain, but the space has a tremendous attraction and magnetism. It just feels different, fun vibrant, mysterious, romantic--different in a good way. Drinks at the bar were prompt, and stout. We ate early and had no wait. Our table was very nice and we had no trouble hearing ourselves talk even as the restaurant filled up. One complaint and I think it is a big one--the booth type seats are wayyyyyy toooooo low! My friend sat down on one and his chin barely reached the table top. No way anyone can sit in one comfortably. Aside from that glitch we had the artichoke hearts and they were great, the fried spinach adds a wonderful texture and flavor to the chokes, and the dipping sauce is excellent. My friend had the chicken which he loved and I ate the ham sandwich (they call it a croquet) with an egg on top. It was very salty but edible, and plentiful but I thought the egg didn't add anything to it. It was good but not in the same class as the egg sandwich at Hyde Park Grill. The frys were good when hot but coagulated quickly and lost some of their allure. The ketchup was interesting and flavorful. I would rate my friends meal as about an 8 and mine about a 7. Still that's a huge step up from the earlier reviews and our expectations. Another quirk that I would jettison is the menus. Bess's uses a huge board to mount their menu on and it is extremely cumbersome. There were only two of us at the table but even then it was difficult to manuver the boards into place and difficult to set them down after deciding. The decisions were made easier by the dirth of dishes on the menu, check out her website and you'll see what I mean. Thanks again to Amy for making our evening pleasant far beyond my expectations. Oh by the way, the lighting is very dim down in the basement, perhaps it would help to provide some sort of lighting to read the bill--just a suggestion.

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