Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Angela's Bistro

The long awaited Angela's Bistro on Central Avenue is finally in operation. It took the contractor a lot longer than expected to get the restaurant built, but every aspect of the restaurant is bigger and better.

I was a regular at Angela's when it was located in the Marina Village. The prices were fair, not expensive and the food quality was good. When the new location first opened, I went there a few times without a reservation and could not get a table. I walked around the dining room to get a feel of the new space. The front area of the restaurant was very pleasant with a relaxing color scheme of greens and browns. The mood then slightly changed the further you walked back towards the restrooms. The tables were so close together that it was quite easy to bump into a table with one's rear end. Luckily, the last time I actually ate a meal at the restaurant, the staff had moved the table and chair configuration that was a much better layout than feeling like cattle.

The first noticeable difference in the new location is the green spread for the bread. The spread is much lighter in flavors of garlic and cilantro. The old version was strong and pungent where the flavors exploded in your mouth. The new version is a watered down version of the old with similar flavor profiles, but with less intensity.

The menu hasn't really changed much, but there are a few more choices to select from in appetizers and entrees. I ordered the Duck confit with wild rice in a puff pastry as an appetizer. The dish was very nice and light. The Duck confit was tender and flavorful. The tangy sauce brought the flavors together of the duck and wild rice. The wild rice alone without the duck was a bit lackluster. The dish overall was a good pick since Duck confit does not appear on the menu with high frequency and it's not easy to make at home.

My main course was a medium rare Hangar Steak with potatoes and vegetables. The steak was thinly sliced when it arrived at the table with a red wine sauce reduction. The sauce was nice and added a more complex dimension to the steak. The potatoes were awkward at first because they were flattened, small potatoes with skins on. The potatoes were tender and had a great flavor to them, but you had to cut them with fork and knife. The vegetables were carrots and green beans. The vegetables had problems. The carrots were overcooked and thinly sliced where it was tough to chew. All of the moisture of the carrot was gone and it was like chewing on a piece of leather. The green beans lacked flavor and it wasn't an issue of being overcooked, but something tells me it has to do with freshness. Food portions were not large and the prices were somewhere in the medium to high range. The steak was over $20, but I got five to seven slices of meat at approximately four to five ounces in weight.

The dessert menu looked a little weak. There were six items to choose from, but none of seemed appetizing and so I opted to skip dessert.

Another time I ate a meal at Angela's, I ordered the Lobster Ravioli. The sauce was creamy and delicate with hints of tomatoes, herbs and butter. The lobster inside the ravioli was perfectly executed, it was thinly shredded lobster meat. The strong lobster flavor of the pasta balanced the subtle creme sauce where the two components complimented one another. One slight flaw of the meal was the texture of the ravioli. The pasta was a bit chewy and it was a tad too thick for my liking. I wondered if the pasta was purchased from a wholesaler and then boiled in the kitchen, but the waitress claimed the pasta is made in the kitchen on the premise. I should have further investigated to ask if the pasta was ever frozen which would explain the chewiness of the texture, but I did not. Oh well, another time, another opportunity. The Lobster Ravioli was a pleasant meal, the food portion was appropriate with six pieces of ravioli.

I would definitely come back to Angela's Bistro for another meal. The ambiance is nice if you sit in the middle of the room or closer to the front door. I suggest choosing menu items that are more complex because steak or salmon is an easy food item to grill. The chef is playing it safe in cooking food that he knows how to make, instead of taking chances on flavors and ingredients. However, you can't blame the guy because the costs of building a new restaurant is expensive, and you have fill the space with paying customers to pay the bills.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was my experience also!----

"The dessert menu looked a little weak. There were six items to choose from, but none of seemed appetizing and so I opted to skip dessert."