In brainstorming ideas for a small place to have dinner and catch up, Theresa recommended Garden Bistro 24 to me and Cassie. Theresa also sent along a link to Steve Barnes’s Table Hopping blog post introducing the restaurant. After seeing this and browsing the menu online, I was sold. I was also immediately sold on the same exact entrée that Steve had: “An 8-ounce hanger steak frites,…, with a small salad, mound of fresh-cut fries seasoned with sea salt and a blue cheese-shallot glaze.”
Upon entering the establishment, which is in the same shopping plaza as Pizza Mare & Deli and a place ominously named Hot Dealz, you get the feeling of a casual, no frills dining experience. The waiters are dressed in jeans and a dress shirt. The menu is short and to the point. The wine and beer list also are short. I like that they give fairly descriptive pairings for all of their featured wines and beers with what is on their menu.
I ordered a Brooklyn Brewery Pennant Ale ’55 to go with my steak, as recommended on the beer list.
Shortly after receiving my beer, the meals arrived. Mine came out, and I was, lets say, moderately disappointed with the portion that I was provided. Judge for yourself:
Now I know that the weight that is quoted is pre-cooked. My father is a butcher, and I grew up very involved in his business. I’m also familiar with hangar steak and realize that, like with any steak, it is difficult to cut perfect portions every time. I’m just going to say that if you’re going to compare my portion with Steve Barnes’s portion, you can’t call both of our portions eight ounces. That’s all.
As far as flavor, I was pleased. I would say my steak was slightly over-seasoned with salt and pepper. I noticed this on my first bite and really didn’t finalize that assessment until I bit into some of my pomme fritte (French Fries) which were extremely over-seasoned. It’s a good thing I prefer my steak and fries over-seasoned, I guess. The blue cheese-shallot glaze was very good and definitely provided a much-needed creamy counterpoint to the beef and potato meal. I also enjoyed the pairing with the Pennant Ale 55′. The salad really didn’t add much to the meal; it was very small. That’s fine by me because I don’t need a big salad with my steak and potatoes.
All in all, this was a positive experience. I enjoyed the flavors very much, and I’m sure that if I would have not seen Steve Barnes’s portion, I would probably be raving about this place right now (it’s the unfortunate downside to misrepresenting your portions for the reviews). Between the meal, beer, and tip, I was still under $20. I would argue that the portions are more suitable for a lunch meal (especially considering the sizes of the salads that Theresa and Cassie were served), but I will return at some point nonetheless (most likely for lunch).