So I met a friend here for a business lunch this week around 12:15 on a Tuesday. This "bistro" is located inside the Glen Lochen Mall, which is an ancient, straight out of the 70s carpeted, wood-paneled, depressing sort of building. It's a wonder how any of the businesses inside of it survive year to year because it's tucked away in an obscure part of Glastonbury and all the times I've been there, I've never seen more than one or two civilians wandering the halls! It's an awkward place for a sushi joint- the other Mall tenants include a florist, an eye doctor and a small day spa.
After following the signs on the wall to Min Ghung, I went downstairs and found it. My associate was already seated and waiting for me when I arrived. There was nobody at the hostess stand so I just breezed past to our table. It took at least TWENTY MINUTES for the server to appear on the floor and walk by our table. I was starting to wonder if the lone sushi chef was the only one in the whole place! We flagged down the server and placed our orders immediately since we sensed this might be a lengthy ordeal.
Our server forgot to bring my beverages (water, iced tea) until after our salads came out... again, after a long wait. He just seemed totally overwhelmed and lost- but here's the thing- we were one of only FOUR TABLES in the whole restaurant- three two-tops and one table of three. So we were perplexed as to why the service was so slow and forgetful! The waiter, bless his heart, just didn't seem to have any fine dining experience whatsoever and didn't seem to posess any sense of urgency or timing. It was one of those terrible "I should complain or point out we've been waiting forever, however, it just seems like he doesn't know any better" experiences.
Our food eventually came. The sushi was neither here nor there, but we stuck to the traditional offerings of plain sushi and sashimi. I mean, how can you screw up a tuna roll? (I shouldn't say that, because I had the worst sushi of my LIFE at NEAT Lounge years ago, where they did in fact manage to royally screw up a tuna roll!)
To get the best sense of this restaurant you'd probably have to go for dinner and try some of the interesting-looking appetizers and creative-sounding special rolls. They seem a little pricey as far as sushi goes- $12 and $14 rolls were on the menu. I have paid such prices at places like Miso in New Haven and Feng in Hartford. But the difference there is that those places have superior service, so you don't mind paying a bit more. I'm not sure if my lunch experience has inspired me to return to Min Ghung to give it a chance at dinner, and that is unfortunate, because despite the crappy location and incompetent floorstaff, it seems to be a funky, fun kind of place.
The decor is a bit LOUD and reminds me more of a hipster coffeehouse or local band concert venue than a "bistro." I've noticed more and more restaurant these days adopting that moniker of "bistro" and I think it can be a little misleading for the average restaurant patron perusing the Zagat, looking for a dining destination... is Min Ghung truly a "bistro"? Let's consider the actual definition of a bistro:
from Wikipedia: "a small restaurant serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting. Bistros are defined mostly by the foods they serve. Slow-cooked foods like braised meats are typical. Bistro patrons do not necessarily expect professional service or printed menus."
Small? Check. Moderately priced? Arguable. Braised Meats? Ehhh, nope. Do not expect professional service? I would have to say yes. This is not Nobu. It is not Feng. But it is what it is, and if you don't mind a very casual, laid-back atmosphere, then maybe you'll like Min Ghung. My associate and I, however, just found it to be too lax for our taste.
Definitely would not recommend this for a business lunch or any other occasion where time is of the essence. Might appeal to the young hipster set who may not be accustomed to prompt service (or simply don't mind the lack thereof.) I probably won't be back.
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