My wife and I decided to visit Yorman’s Bistro after reading complimentary reviews on Chowhound and AZ Central. The both of us are deaf; however, I do enjoy listening to jazz with what limited hearing I can muster. When I lived in D.C., I used to frequent jazz nights at various coffee shops. Here, in Phoenix, the closest I’ve found to what I had back there is Char’s Has the Blues.
We arrived Saturday around 6pm. The nearly empty dining area afforded the waitress multiple seating options. She chose the booth directly across from the entrance, which provided lovely chilling wind gusts every time the people opened the doors.
The prices on the menu caught my eye. A 12 inch wood fired pizza was 20 dollars (online prices seem to be cheaper for some reason). Given that the best pizzas as Pizzeria Bianco (My comparison point for every thin-crusted pizza I eat) are only 10 and 11 dollars, I found myself immediately under whelmed. Additionally, soft drinks cost $2.50, with only one free re-fill.
I ordered a diet coke ($2.50) and Tamara ordered a Bloody Mary ($8). My drink came in a tall, thin glass. Having passed 7 years of age some time ago, I’m aware that tall, thin glasses filled with ice do not carry the same amount of liquid as short, squat glasses. If I’m only getting one free refill, I expect more soda to drink up front.
Tamara complained that her Bloody Mary was water with tomato flavoring, and a little bit of vodka.
We ordered fried okra ($6) to share as an appetizer. Tamara had the Hanna Bay Rum Runner ($16) with steamed vegetables and Southern Style Potato Soup. I had the baby back ribs with peach BBQ sauce ($18), with Down Home Humbo, and mashed sweet potatoes on the side.
Yorman’s claims that their fried okra comes with a secret Pizazz sauce. I don’t know what it was, but it lacked pizzazz and tasted like a bit of Tabasco mixed in with ranch dressing. The okra was tasteless and a bit snotty.
I liked my Down Home Gumbo. Tamara mentioned that her Southern Style Potato soup wasn’t too bad, if a bit tasteless.
When our meals arrived, I found myself angry. The ribs looked like the chef threw it into a broiler pan and let it stew in its own fat. I took a taste anyway, hoping that the flavor would top its looks. The peach BBQ sauce tasted like canned tomato sauce mixed with BBQ flavoring. The meat itself was tough and overcooked with a distinctly Grandma-left-the-roast-in-the-oven-too-long flavor.
I sent it back to the kitchen and refused another meal. The very apologetic waitress comped it for me.
Tamara’s chicken, while tender, was much too salty. And, the steamed vegetables were obviously frozen and purchased from Safeway.
I understand the point of Yorman’s Bistro is the live music, but instead of lively jazz, we were treated to a very sad man popping an inaudible double-bass. Given that most of the clientele that night were seniors, one would think that they’d provide live music with a bit more volume and jazz.
I’m not sure how Howard Seftal came to give Yorman’s Bistro 3 stars, or write that the food prices were reasonable. We paid 40 dollars for a meal which was quite sub-par.
623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
17191 N Litchfield Rd, Surprise, AZ
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