We were visiting in Kelso. After a long day, my husband and I were looking forward to a relaxing, delicious meal at The Bistro. We arrived around 7 pm, and waited for several minutes for a host to greet us or simply acknowledge our presence. Finally, someone came over and asked if she could help us. We told her dinner for two. Apparently, this was the wrong answer. There were 3 large birthday party groups dining at long tables at that time. We could see several empty small tables and 3 servers bustling around. We were told it would be a 10-15 minute wait and we shrugged and said okay.
She pointed to a sofa and asked us to sit there and then she vanished. I was perturbed that she did not ask if we wanted something to drink while we waited. I would have gladly had a glass of wine.
At last, we were seated at a table for two by the window and we perused the menu and wine list. I asked for the house merlot, thinking it would be a local wine. My mistake! (It was a wine from Stockton, CA known for bulk wine. It was on a par with Franzia wine in a box.) I wanted the waitress to take away the wire-edged merlot and bring me something more drinkable. The establishment IS called a bistro and wine bar, so I expected better quality wines. Their wine list was lacking in some really good Wash. and Oregon wines. What's up with that?
We also placed our orders for dinner. And then we waited and waited. Both my husband and I were getting irritated. After placing our orders and getting drinks served, the servers ignored us. There was no bread offered, or anyone simply checking with us, or telling us there was a delay with our meal.
My full glass of merlot still stood on the table. Finally, we went to the cashier stand and paid for the two drinks. I said the wine and service were both terrible and we would not be back. We left and found dinner elsewhere.
So, we will never know if the food is good at The Bistro. We just know that 2 diners do not get as much attention as large parties. As travelers, we had hoped this would be our new favorite place when we visit Kelso/Longview, but it is not.
Here is how my checklist looks for their failing grade: failure to greet customers promptly, failure to be welcoming to guests (who might be trying out the restaurant for a future party), failure to offer drinks to customers who must wait to be shown to a table, failure to offer a good merlot as their "house merlot," failure to bring bread, crackers, an amuse bouche, or to speak to customers after they ordered and a long wait ensued; leaving customers alone without checking on them or explaining any delays with their dinner orders, failing to make sure that even two customers were happy with their drink choices, and having the music on their sounds system turned up much too loud so that conversation was difficult. We did not want to shout at each other.
Our dining experiences in the Kelso/Longview area seem limited to fast food, pizza, chain restaurants and burgers. If The Bistro or any other restaurant has better food, we may never know. Next time, we are likely to just go to a Mexican restaurant with our friends.
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