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“$16 super bird menu: beef stroganoff a hit, pork tenderloin not so tender”
Review of Merlot Bistro - CLOSED

Merlot Bistro
Cuisines: American, French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Reviewed January 22, 2014

We stopped by Merlot Bistro right in the heart of Carmel on Ocean Ave, with a Brazilian flag outside? Brazilian food? I'm afraid not.

Merlot offers a 'super bird' special, $16 for soup/salad and one of four entrees: sand dabs, three cheese polenta, beef stroganoff, and pork tenderloin.

We take a chance and enter an elegant restaurant, with night ceiling lights, tables with white tablecloths, set with silverware, wine glasses, lighted candles with a small vase of fresh cut colorful flowers, and a wall of windows facing Ocean Ave. Great ambiance!

As it is only 530pm, the place is virtually empty. They seat us next to another group right by the front windows -the best seats in the house. They want pedestrians to see a restaurant with people eating.

We glance over the menu and check out the Dom Perignon 2000 bottle at $299.00, and wonder if we are in the right place.

We order the beef stroganoff, and the pork tenderloin, one with salad and one with the coconut shrimp bisque soup. The meal comes with heated sour dough bread and butter, which we devour immediately, as we are ravished, having completed hiking 4 hours at Point Lobos.

The coconut shrimp bisque soup is very good, but not with too many shrimp. As I am not a coconut soup fan, I get the salad. It's the leafy kind, with stems in a vinaigrette dressing with a single slice of tomato and some carrots slices for color. Nice serving size for a starving guy.

The pork tenderloin comes as two four ounce portions of meat, covered with a salty sauce, with roasted potatoes and cooked purple cabbage. I concur with a previous reviewer that the pork is not so tender. This cut of pork is not the darker loin meat, but the cheaper and tougher white pork chop area, with the bone and fat removed, but covered with sauce. The potatoes were impeccably cooked, and the purple cabbage delicious mixed in with bits of bacon, somewhat incredible, given that I usually don't like purple cabbage.

The beef stroganoff a very hearty portion in quantity and is very filling. It is in a mushroom sauce with fettucine pasta, with at least half a dozen meatballs size chunks of shredded beef, very pliable with the prongs of my fork - a good sign of its tenderness. Definitely a dish to come back for.

My wife has sand dabs before, and is not impressed with the lemon flavored white fish -not enough flavor.

Great attentive service. The waiters filled our glasses of water, and removed our finished plates promptly.

Not sure if we will be back, as the 4 choices of super bird specials is not enough of a variety to entice us to come back. The pork tenderloin is tastes like the cheaper cut of pork chops, with the bones and fat removed before cooking, although the beef stroganoff is a nice pasta dish.

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3  Thank robert c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (145)
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49 - 53 of 145 reviews

Reviewed January 4, 2014

We wanted to find a special restaurant for our last evening in Carmel. We walked around during the day and had settled on one that was a bit of a walk from our hotel. By the time evening arrived my husband didn't want to walk that far so we just walked two blocks in town and found the Merlot Bistro. I first thought it was a bit casual for the type of meal I wanted, but I was pleasantly surprised. What a great find and I'm delighted now my husband didn't want to walk too far. I had the best leg of lamb ever and my husband's pork chop was tops. We started off with a roasted garlic and goat cheese and a great bottle of wine. All in all it was a great experience and we will return on our next Carmel visit.

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3  Thank coquilts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2014

We had dinner on December 26, admittedly not the best night, but everything about our meal was disappointing. They were very understaffed, the wait for anything other than the evening special was very long, the food was mediocre, and the bartender did not know how to make my cocktail. The food for the special had obviously been made well beforehand and merely heated up - sort of. One other diner sent his beef stroganoff back to be heated up, my pork tenderloins had a nice flavour but were quite tough, and my husband's sand dabs tasted less than fresh.
We might give Merlot another try but it will be awhile.

2  Thank iamfinicky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2013

We were there late in the afternoon and the place was basically empty. Our waiter ruined the occasion by being less than honest about the food and the bill. First, he told us that the pasta did not come with anything, bread, salad etc. possibly in an effort to add more charges to our bill. We declined the add-ons. Then quite awhile after the pasta arrived, he brought bread anyway, no explanation.

The food was fine and the house wine was satisfactory. We enjoyed our meal. When he brought our check, he "forgot" to subtract our coupon. Several of these restaurants are owned or managed by the same entity. We were given more coupons for the sister properties when we left. Apparently it's common to have a coupon, so why would our waiter forget? The place sure wasn't that busy that he had an excuse for being forgetful.

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3  Thank Informedone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2013

This was the second visit to Merlot's Bistro. We great service and superb food! I had the special halibut stuffed with crab. My husband had beef in a pastry shell.

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3  Thank Pat s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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