Taste: 4/5. A few misses but a largely delicious dinner.
Service: 5/5. Attentive, friendly and fast.
Ambiance: 3/5. Not quite casual, not quite romantic, not quite upscale.
Concept: 4/5. American food with some creativity. I appreciate the attention to dietary concerns.
Pricing: 3.5/5. Much of the menu is on the expensive side.
Jessica Holbrook taste-tests French onion soup, spicy calamari, the lobster ravioli appetizer, ahi tuna, 6 oz. angus reserve filet mignon with blue cheese, bacon and brandy, red pepper risotto, Brussels sprouts, cheesecake and six-layer chocolate cake at The Bistro of Green.
Sometimes you just have to treat yourself. It’s still early in the new year and I’ve been trying to focus on being healthier in general. I’m obviously not always successful—check out Donut Wars this month for proof—but I think I’ve done OK.
I toyed with the idea of healthy eating for this review. The Bistro of Green makes it a little easier by allowing you to swap out pasta for veggie noodles and offering a selection of veggie-based sides. There’s also a sizable gluten-free menu for those with dietary concerns. But the rest of the menu was just too tempting to pass up.
Besides, we all deserve dessert sometimes.
The Bistro is tucked into a drab plaza on Massillon Road near the Stark and Summit County border. It seems like an odd location for a relatively upscale restaurant, but the parking lot was packed so it’s obviously not impacting business. I’m glad I made reservations. We arrived around 7 p.m. on a weeknight, and the restaurant was hopping. Our table was near the hostess stand and I overheard her telling another couple they’d have a pretty long wait.
The restaurant is a somewhat confusing blend of comfortable and upscale—there are candles on the table, but the lights are too bright to need them—with two dining rooms on either side of the entrance. We were on the side without a bar. The decor reminded me of a winery, with several pieces of art made from wine corks and a display rack of bottles on the wall.
It wasn’t a terribly romantic atmosphere, but it made for a nice dinner date and would be a great place for a family celebration or birthday dinner. The restaurant writes the names of those celebrating special events on the chalkboard outside, and I enjoyed that personal touch.
Wanting to take advantage of the plentiful seafood on the menu, we opted for two sea creature-based appetizers. The spicy calamari ($8.99) lives up to its name. It’s light and crispy—no rubbery pieces here—with a nice kick of heat. I enjoyed the texture of the lobster ravioli ($8.99 appetizer/$19.99 entree), as well as the chunks of tomato and baby spinach. But the lemon cream sauce was bland and too thick for the more delicate pasta.
It was a cold, blustery night, so Dave and I both opted for French onion soup with our entrees (included in the meal but also $2.99 cup/$3.99 bowl), which arrived piping hot and topped with gobs of bread and melted cheese. The soup was hearty, with a peppery broth and lots of soft, caramelized onions.
Dave ordered my favorite item of the night, the ahi tuna ($22.99), which arrived perfectly medium rare. The sesame seed-encrusted fish looks as delicious as it tastes. It was served on a drizzle of wasabi aioli and a thick soy sauce that paired perfectly with the fish.
The side of red pepper risotto looked great but just fell flat for me. The flavor of white wine overpowered any hint of red pepper.
The steak at The Bistro came highly recommended, so I had to try it for myself. The praise is justified. My 6 oz. angus reserve filet mignon ($24.99/$30.99, 8 oz.) was juicy, flavorful and cooked to a perfect medium. I opted to add a side of blue cheese, bacon and brandy sauce ($3.99). The sauce is creamy and rich, with heavy hits of blue cheese and big chunks of bacon. It was tasty but overwhelmed the flavor of the meat.
The Bistro offers other add-ons for steak, including sauteed shrimp ($6.99), goat cheese and hot peppers ($1.99) and red wine demi glace ($3.99). They all sounded tempting.
I was disappointed by my side of Bistro bacon Brussels sprouts, which were teetering on the edge of mushy and overcooked. The sprouts were well seasoned, but I prefer mine on the crispier side.
The restaurant’s serving sizes are generous without being excessive, a nice change of pace from restaurants that load up their plates. The entrees are a great amount of food for a hearty dinner without a lot of leftovers.
I wasn’t nearly hungry enough for dessert after dinner, but The Bistro offers a tempting selection of homemade treats that I found hard to pass up. We opted to take home slices of cheesecake ($6.99) and six-layer chocolate cake ($6.99).
The cheesecake selection varies monthly. January featured a cinnamon roll cheesecake that came with thick swirls of cinnamon sugar and a side of sugary, sticky glaze. It was everything I want in a dessert—sweet, rich, indulgent—with a perfect creamy texture and crumbly crust. It held up well overnight, but I imagine it’s even better on-site. A slice is more than enough to share.
Dave’s chocolate cake was gooey and sinful with a heavy, smooth buttercream frosting I’d eat by the spoonful. It came with a side of ice cream and a tart raspberry sauce that made a perfect contrast to the decadent cake.