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“Excellent Halibut” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Bistro Vivant

Bistro Vivant
Ranked #63 of 137 Restaurants in McLean
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Rt 123 Dolley Madison Blvd
Transit: Metro Bus stop one block away, on corner of Old Dominion Dr and Chain Bridge Rd.
Description: A contemporary French Bistro in the heart of McLean. We are open ALL DAY, EVERY DAY... so join us for a late Lunch, early Dinner or any Holiday.
Ashburn, Virginia
Level Contributor
245 reviews
152 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Excellent Halibut”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 4, 2013

Much enjoyed this casual French influenced venue in the center of McLean. Not crowded or noisy on a Saturday night which made it great to dine with old friends. Good menu and service plus the Chef's special of halibut just flown in that afternoon.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank VaTechDad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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77 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    23
    27
    18
    4
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
South Bend, Indiana
Level Contributor
82 reviews
70 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Good food, service needs improvement”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 3, 2013

My wife and I went here for a late lunch on Saturday. They have outdoor seating which is nice, although there's not much to look at except a parking lot and fairly busy street. We chose to dine inside. They have a good variety of selections on the lunch menu. We had onion soup, escargot, lamb meatballs, and butternut squash gnocchi. All were very good...the gnocchi, which was served in a sage-based sauce was outstanding. I tried the Creme Brule, the filling of which was based on jasmine tea, did not appeal to me.

Service was slow given the time of day we were there. There was a long delay between getting our drinks (wine) and when our order was taken.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Publicola76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
59 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Outstanding French Bistro food”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 3, 2013

enjoyed a terrific lunch at this French bistro --
much better than one would suspect from the outside, which is in a strip shopping mall.

Both the food and the service were outstanding -- and of the quality I'd expect in a major
downtown city.

I will definitely come back here again next time I am in McLean.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank SplashDNewYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ivy, Virginia
Level Contributor
101 reviews
68 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Ok...”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 3, 2013

The tuna was not over cooked but was tasteless w minimal marinade; salad crisp; service very good; strong wine selection.
The 'special burger' was tasty and cooked to order; the fries way too salty and just ok.
A bit too expensive given the quality of the meal.
A shopping strip mall restaurant.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank pttuva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
238 reviews
163 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
“They need to train or fire the wait staff... just awful.”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 21, 2013

Inexcusably bad service. Beyond awful..... And this was after I walked in, sat down and immediately ordered about $200 worth of champagne and wine..... Here's the run down......
The place has about 32 tables, but only 8 tables had customers at them at any time. We are talking only 25% full...... so it certainly wasn't like they were slammed. It was a Wednesday night, August 21, 2013.
At the outset I told waiter I was paying for wine, please put on separate bill as our friends were buying dinner only. (Read to the end of this review to find out what happened..... But you can guess.)
Ordered fries while waiting for the other couple joining us to arrive - didn't receive them after 15 minutes, had to ask twice. Finally arrived - fries pretty good. High point of the evening. It goes downhill from there.
Other couple arrives, pour champagne to celebrate business deal - I ask waiter to please open the bottle of Malbec so it can loosen up while we drink champagne. Waiter forgets to open Malbec.
In meantime, bottle of water for our table gets drained, no refill. Ask for refill - twice - before another waiter graciously complies.
In meantime, our waiter never bothers to refill our empty champagne glasses, despite walking by numerous times to serve other tables. Reminded waiter (again) to please open Malbec.
We order. Wives order soup as appetizers. Soup never comes, waiter shows up with entrees instead. Told him to skip the soups please, wives don't want to wait.
I order mussels in broth, but waiter fails to bring spoon for the broth - ask for spoon. Most places that have mussels offer up some bread to soak up broth - not here. No spoon, no broth - huh?
In meantime, we finish off champagne. Can't find waiter to pour Malbec. Finally grab him as he walks by on way to kitchen - he pours Malbec. Thanks.
We finish entrees, plates sit. And sit. And sit some more. Waiter walks by table three (I counted) times on way to kitchen without stopping to clear plates. Hostess also walks by our table, looks down, and saunters past. Everyon in this place has an aversion (or allergy) to dirty plates. I move all the dirty plates to next empty table. Waiter gets hint and clears other table, leaving dirty bread plates (for which no bread was ever served - we used for fries) on table. WTF? Did I mention I hate sitting in front of dirty plates?
Waiter never refills our wine glasses entire night. We finish $65 bottle of Malbec, waiter leaves empty bottle on table and never asks us if we would like another, to which we would have answered - "absolutely" cause it was delicious (but not if we have to wait until midnight for it to arrive). Owner loses $65 in revenue from lost wine sale opportunity.
Waiter asks if we like dessert. We order two desserts. And wait. And wait. And wait some more (and these are pre-made FROZEN desserts - not like they have to actually MAKE anything). I ask waiter where dessert is. He says it's coming.
Dessert finally arrives, waiter fails to ask if we would like an apertif, or coffee or tea - owner loses more revenue, probably another $30-$40 easy because we always tend to order a few Sambuca's with coffee.
We finish dessert, waiter brings bill and hands to my friend on my left (I'm not looking because I'm talking to wife to my right), and friend gives him credit card. Yup, you guessed it, the wine is lumped with the food. Waiter runs credit card, brings back to table, chaos ensues - I'm irritated as h*ll because I told waiter to make sure to bill the wine separately. Friend, gracious as heck, refuses to let waiter re-run the bill and pays whole tab. I quietly seeth in anger at waiter.

So, you want to know about the food too? Okay, the "fried sole" isn't bad, but nothing memorable. I read the other reviews before we went to this place, and frankly I have a hard time reconciling what they said with what we ate. The fried sole is clearly pre-breaded and frozen - the breading is too perfect and even to be freshly prepared - these are not freshly dipped and breaded filets. And the taste reflects that fact. My mussels were reasonably plump, and the portion was dinner size appropriate. The broth was very flavorful and would have been wonderful to soak up with some crusty French bread - oh wait, we never got any bread, French or otherwise, so I can't tell you how good that would have been. As for the soup - oops, we never got it so can't comment on that. Desserts - the goat cheese cake was okay, not too sweet, not too tart, so I recommend it. The cherries moulie was pretty good too. Can't opine about the coffee, tea or apertifs, they were never offered to us.

We eat out a lot. Food is important. But so is service. And when the service is so bad that your customers barely remember the food - or write a scathing and ridiculously long review like this one - you have a problem on your hands. The restaurant that preceded Bistro Vivant at this location suffered from the same fate, and ultimately shut down. Unless the owner invests in some serious education and training for his wait staff, this place will suffer the same fate. Seriously, I would be happy to discuss our experience with the owner if he/she is interested - email me. And no, I don't want you to offer me a free dinner, drinks, etc. Just fix your wait staff issues please and maybe we will come back.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
2 Thank rossvesq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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