Tuesday, January 29, 2013

O Bistro, St. Petersburg, FL

Gather 'round, my Wonder Bread and Velveeta loving friends....because I haz the place for you!

I'm going to try hard not to hate (but let's not forget what the All Wise and Knowing Yoda said about "try"...I know I never do)...I guess I just expected more based on O Bistro's interesting-sounding online menu.  However, a Nursing Home level of  "unseasoned"  isn't really a BAD thing when it comes to food, is it?  Especially when you're trying to eat less.  Plus, I was one of the youngest of the AARP card-carriers in the venue and feeling comparatively young (even for an hour) always puts a smile on my face.

I met up with my galpal, Aries Wench, on this particular Sunday afternoon for a belated birthday lunch.  Service was painfully slow after we took a table in the bar area where a sweet and helpful but clearly overwhelmed bartender was trying to single-handedly keep too many remnants of the "after church crowd" happy.  To be forgiving, we were in no particular hurry and had our cocktails to tide us over (and there was a decent selection of wines by the glass and interesting martinis available).  Thankfully, it's tough to "eff" up Hess Chardonnay and Bloody Marys.  Soups, however, did not receive a similar reprieve.  All right...they were fine, albeit less than special (see, I'm trying),

I'm a chunky tomato hater from way back, although I can truly enjoy cooked tomatoes in a homogeneous form (as in Italian red sauces, picante sauce, ketchup and creamy soups).  The Tomato Basil Bisque with Gorgonzola sounded pretty mouthwatering, but was an exceptionally thick concoction laden with fairly hefty pieces of tomato and not at all what I was expecting.   It was my bad for ordering this without asking for a description because the flavor had potential, but I was put off by the chunkiness of it on a personal tastebud level.

I slid the cup to the side of the table, uneaten and without complaint.  Our server seemed concerned, so I assured her "it's not you...it's me" (since that always make breakups and such so much easier to swallow, right?).  She very sweetly offered to replace it with the Crab, Shrimp and Corn Chowder soup du jour, so I took her up on it.
My galpal and I thusly both wound up with the same soup, which had a nice flavor but was relatively thin and skimped heavily on the promised ingredients.  While it did taste like it had been started with a crab and shrimp stock, actual seafood bits were nowhere to be found.  It also could've used a thicker roux, some half-and-half, and more than eight tiny corn kernels.  But look on the bright side...doesn't Aries Wench's manicure look lovely?  That textured look is cutting edge and known as "Liquid Sand".  Oops...I digress.
I suppose I also had it coming when I asked for the Chunky Chicken Breast Salad with seedless grapes, chopped red onion and low-fat mayo and sour cream dressing. When will I ever learn that being righteous doesn't pay?  Boring, boring, BORING.  It was supposed to be served with a side of fruit, but somehow they had run out of fruit by 2:00 PM that afternoon.  No worries...fruit also doesn't excite me much and our server graciously offered to let my soup do stand-in duty as my side. The blueberry muffiin tasted like it had been served straight from an Entenmann's box.
Ms. K, however, seemed to enjoy her Chicken, Portobello and Provalone Panini with roasted red peppers and balsamic vinaigrette although I wasn't inspired to try a bite.
Her Espresso Martini dessert was delectable...and looked almost as good as she did that day. *tink*
Final word:  Maybe best for late night cocktails or Sunday lunch with your 80 year old granny (or super-picky friends with unadventurous palates...and we all have a few of those we can't help but love in spite of that fact).  The cuisine, while not bad, was mediocre at best on my visit.  I couldn't in good conscience recommend O Bistro based on the few menu selections I sampled unless you're on a VERY bland diet.  Oh, and look...once again I did not completely succeed in not hating (sorry, Yoda).  Imagine that!

O Bistro on Urbanspoon

My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.

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