Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Restaurant Review: Avenue Bistro

Avenue Bistro
6710 W. Central Ave., Toledo, OH
(419) 841 - 5944
(419) 842 -1435 (Fax)
Mon - Thr: 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Fri - Sat: 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Sun: Closed

Being at loose ends for lunch I decided to try Avenue Bistro again.  I used to patronize Avenue Bistro for lunch on an irregular basis, often with my attorney Johnny the Hammer, but I discovered that the owners refused to heat the place during the winter and last February the dining room was an ice house so I swore the place off.  Things have changed a little since then, and for the better.

Avenue Bistro is one of the very few places that features an outdoor patio.  This is a huge benefit to the dining experience.  The patio is screened by evergreens and bushes which improve the view (Central and McCord not being aesthetically pleasing) and provide an effective barrier for the traffic noise.  Ceiling fans provide a nice breeze and the only thing that concerned me was the quality of service I might receive on the patio.  It's been my experience in other restaurants that the customers on the patio are often neglected or overlooked, as the servers are all inside.


My concerns about service dissipated in the wake of our waiter, who did an outstanding job.  The man was helpful and observant while managing to remain unobtrusive.  He was also very knowledgeable about the menu and the daily specials - I deplore a waiter who is able to recite the menu but has never tasted the food.  Clearly this was not the case here.

Relying on my somewhat leaky memory, it seems to me that the menu has changed somewhat since my last visit.  My luncheon companion agreed, noting that one of his favorite items was conspicuous in its absence.   The waiter assured us that the kitchen would accommodate items not on the menu, in this case a Greek omelet.  I elected to have the chicken breast sandwich and a cup of lobster bisque. 

I believe this is called a knife and fork sandwich.  The lobster bisque is every bit as good as I remember it, and the sandwich was excellent - grilled chicken breast with a thick slice of Canadian bacon.  The lettuce and tomato were fresh.

Lunch Special
The ambiance of Avenue Bistro is excellent.  Classical music alternates with light rock and plays quietly in the background.  You really have to listen to hear it.  Tables are far enough apart to allow conversation without intruding on the diners seated next to you, although in the past I've heard the bar area inside get a little raucous.  While I wouldn't say the Avenue Bistro provides the true fine dining experience, it's certainly two steps removed from the casual lunch crowd and I don't think you'll find a soccer mom with an SUV full of snot noses within a mile of the place.  The Avenue Bistro is designed for adults, not kids.

If you have an urge to dine outdoors in the excellent weather we've been having lately, the Avenue Bistro should be on your very short list.  If you just want lunch, the place is still on my short list.

In summary:
  • Ambiance: 9
  • Service: 9
  • Food: 8

Overall rating: 9.

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