During my culinary exploration of Kitimat “The Bistro,” as it is now called, was high on my list of places to try. On paper it had a very appealing menu: An attractive assortment of appies from wings to calamari to deep-fried pickles; a variety of...delightful sandwiches, including unique Paninis; house-made burgers and fish & chips; specialty hot dogs and pizzas. In short, I thought I’d have many, many reasons to return. Unfortunately, my first visit was so unimpressive that I thought it best not to return. Everything I ordered was just. Not. Good.
Before I elaborate, I’d like to offer a brief comment on the physical space and service: I initially liked the space. Sure, it’s small and kind of cramped, but it stood out because the owners of the establishment have chosen to emphasize “the local.” Yes, there’s the typical national sports memorabilia plastered all over the place, but there’s also a fair amount of community sports items placed throughout as well. It’s nice to see a local establishment promote the home culture. That promotion goes well beyond sports and into the spirits as well: Wheelhouse Brewing (Prince Rupert) and Sherwood Mountain Beer (Terrace) is on offer for those wanting to sample local brews.
The Food: Upon being seated and perusing the attractive menu, I ordered the hot chicken wings, small pepperoni pizza and the Mera Dog. I didn’t have to wait very long for food to start arriving – maybe 10 or 15 minutes. The wings were up first. Far from being “perfectly seasoned,” these were some of the saddest chicken wings I’d come across in recent memory. They were dried up (looking kind of mummified), way over seasoned and a far cry from being hot or spicy. The seasoning salt made them taste much more like overdone salt & pepper wings than “hot” wings. Truth be told, I’ve had gas station wings of better – much better – quality. Up next was the pepperoni pizza. It didn’t look anywhere near as attractive as the propaganda photos, nor did it taste very exciting, either. It reminded me of cardboard. On the bright side, at least it wasn’t greasy. Then came the Mera Dog, which was the item I was most looking forward to. After all, this place apparently specializes in unique dogs, so this should be good, right? Much like everything else I’d ordered up to this point, the item I received didn’t look anything like the propaganda photos online. The hot dog bun was burnt and the toppings were laid out quite sloppily – very unattractive looking. Taste-wise it was better than the wings and pizza, but that’s not saying much.
[A funny aside: Not long after my visit to The Bistro, I sent a photo of my Mera Dog to M. The response? “What is that and why is it on one of my plates? It looks disgusting!” Really, I think that about sums up my overall feelings for The Bistro.]
I feel that The Bistro is a very big missed opportunity. The menu is attractive, but the execution is lacking in a major way. I’m left recalling a quote I saw posted on a Vancouver eatery a while back: “Shame on you if you don’t give us a try. Shame on us if you don’t come back.” That definitely holds true here. As I noted above, I’d intended to come back and try other items, but the quality of what I did have was just so underwhelming there was no reason to come back.
RECOMMENDATION: If you’re wandering through Kitimat Mall and feeling a bit peckish, go to MOM’S CUISINE instead. If you want pizza, go to Chilly & Dancer’s or Pizzarama. Any of these places is better than The Bistro. I’m usually not too picky when it comes to food – the joke being I’m just as happy in a McDonald’s as I am in a 5-star establishment – but this place was just one big disappointment. Not recommended.
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