my wife and i have been perusing chowhound since january. we were in athens, greece, looking for places to eat in istanbul, turkey, and came across the site. since then, we have accessed it regularly to check on things, and put it to its first major test on friday (3/23).
it was the wife's birthday and we were looking for a special place to go not far from home. i read some postings for romantic (we've been married for over 30 years) restaurants in pasadena, and was intrigued by "griller141's" post regarding bistro 45.
when i called for reservations, i had a very friendly conversation during which i was asked my wife's name and how it was spelled. we showed up for dinner on friday at 6:30pm. when i told the hostess my name, she immediately looked at my wife, said: "happy birthday, debbie", and handed her a hand written birthday card. it was early and we were immediately seated at a nice corner table. there was a table of medical people (doctors) discussing, rather loudly for an empty restaurant, tumors and other appetizing items. a couple of minutes after being seated, a host came over and offered to move us to a quieter table. this was done without our asking - very nice initiative.
we then had 3 drinks, 2 sets of wine "flight" tastings, a bottle of wine (2004 Grove Street Merlot), an after dinner port (complimentary), two appetizers, two entrees and two desserts. total bill of $240, including a 20% tip. very reasonable, we think.
we had escargot with asparagus in a wine reduction sauce, duck filled ravioli, an ahi with sesame crust, the tenderest tenderloin that we have ever had, a pear with ice cream dessert and assorted sorbets. my wife's desert came on a plate decorated "happy birthday, debbie" in chocolate - the most special birthday desert that she has had in a restaurant in her 29 years. all in all, everything was great, and the menu appears to have many more items that we want to try, so we will definitely be back.
we were there for over 3 hours, and, even though it was a friday night and the restaurant became very crowded, at no time were we even given a hint of being rushed. the waiter, the host and hostess, and the owner (robert) all made sure that we were very, very comfortable. in addition, as we were drinking our wine, my wife accidentally hit my wine glass (she missed me!), and spilled a full glass of merlot on my pure white linen jacket. i washed it out in the restroom as best as i could. when i returned to the table, the waiter took the jacket and soaked it in club soda in an ice bucket until we left. they then put it into a plastic bag to take home. (i took it to the cleaners when they opened on saturday and we will know next thursday whether or not my wife will be allowed near red wine again.) i tell this story because i thought that it was very nice that they went to the extra trouble to try to help us out - they did not have to.
so thank you chowhound and griller141 for helping us find a new, wonderful place. we are looking forward to many more referrals through this site.