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Quebec (inc. Montreal) Outdoor Seating

Boris Bistro - nice patio, too bad about the waiter (long)

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Boris Bistro - nice patio, too bad about the waiter (long)

Luke Andrews | Aug 11, 2004 01:51 PM

I had a meal at Boris Bistro with three others on Monday night and the expansive and beautiful patio was packed. Unfortunately, the highlight of the evening proved to be enjoying this scenery, as our experience quickly degraded, in part because of some problems with the food, but mostly due to comically inept service.

Like a wasp at a picnic, the waiter kept hovering over us at the beginning expecting us to order our food immediately, even though we'd barely had a chance to sit down and look at the drink menu. After we ordered some wine and a cheese plate to start, he seemed perplexed that we might want to think about our main courses a bit longer, so we had to plead for him to bring the cheese first. Then he forgot who had ordered the wine when it came to tasting the first glass.

The cheese was good, a local selection and they offered copious amounts of bread to chew it with.

After shooing the watier away two or three more times while we debated our food, we finally ordered. The waiter, to his credit, was quite patient with one of my friends who cannot eat dairy or gluten (she ordered the steak-frites), confirming with the kitchen what she could or could not eat.

Our appetizers arrived fairly quickly and were decent. A beet soup with sour cream was elegantly presented and had more zing than your average borscht. My salad of endives, walnuts, roquefort and pear was tasty with a zesty vinaigrette, but I was disappointed by its meagre size as it consisted of only five pieces of endive and the tiniest cubes of pear.

Soon the waiter arrived with the main courses, but only two of the four. He said that a tilapia dish would be ready "shortly", but announced that the the steak had been accidentally cooked with butter and another would have to be prepared.

So while I and one friend stared at our food, my two other companions waited. The tilapia arrived fairly soon after, but it turned out to be partly cold and undercooked. It took a conversation between the waiter and the manager to send it back. Meanwhile, the steak arrived after the rest of us had nearly finished and was slightly overcooked.

My own dish was tasty enough, a chicken feuilleté with a nice flaky pastry, a light cream sauce and nicely cooked red pepper. It wasn't spectacular, but I enjoyed it well enough. A duck risotto dish also met with hearty approval from my friend.

After the disastrous main course, we were left to our own devices for some time until the waiter came around and asked us if that would be all -- no hint or suggestion of dessert or coffee. When we asked for the dessert menu, he seemed nearly perturbed by the fact that we weren't already finished our wine first.

While ordering dessert, a request to change mascarpone to a scoop of sorbet (which was also on the menu) in a dish of strawberries -- due to the dairy allergy -- was met with the response that it probably wasn't possible. But he would ask. Never mind trying to find out what sort of sorbet there was or if we could choose one in particular. However, in the end it turned out to be possible, so the sorbet was received. I didn't try my companion's dessert, but I will say that my crème brulée was quite delicious, with a good, crackling surface and the requisite smooth texture underneath.

After we had completely finished dessert, the waiter *then* offered us coffee, but only after disappearing for some time. We refused and asked for the bill.

Upon inspection of the bill, we found we had been double-charged for one item. However, the waiter managed to swoop down and snatch the bill with the credit card while we were distracted talking and so we were unable to tell him about the mistake in time.

When we told him about the overcharging he seemed quite alarmed but said he thought it would be difficult to change it as he'd already rung it through with the credit card. He did try to offer us a complementary drink, but at this point we didn't really care (it was a fairly small item that was double charged) so we left it at that.

Surely not every meal at Boris Bistro involves such calamity to the point of inspiring laughter, but overall it was, as you can imagine, quite a disappointment.

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