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“A Restaurant Striving, but Missing, the Haute Cuisine Mark”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of Bistro Bethem

Bistro Bethem
Ranked #33 of 427 Restaurants in Fredericksburg
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $12 - $30
Cuisines: American, International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Business meetings
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Off-Street Parking, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Street Parking, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
86 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“A Restaurant Striving, but Missing, the Haute Cuisine Mark”
Reviewed June 3, 2014

My fiance and I spent a weekend in Fredericksburg and we were excited to visit Bistro Bethem based on their online menu. We really wanted to like this place, but my overwhelming impression was that the chef was trying very hard to be haute cuisine - but wasn't quite there yet on the talent end. We shared a unique appetizer of a monkfish boudin - not our favorite, but the strange sweetness of the fish was matched by a vinegary salad and I actually enjoyed it personally. My fiance ordered the salmon. The salmon itself was a nice cut, but again here was where the lack of talent showed from the kitchen - the brown sugar coating was way too thick, making the dish overly sweet. The broth was absolutely tasteless, but the greens were okay. There was a cilantro topping that was chopped in huge bits. I ordered a mixed grill that included homemade sausage and quail with mashed potatoes and mushrooms. The meat, mashed potatoes, and mushrooms were good if simple and not very seasoned at all, but the whole plate was thrown off by a strange strawberry-balsamic sauce that just didn't match the other ingredients. Neither dish seemed to gel well and we were mostly just unimpressed. We went elsewhere for dessert. The service was excellent and the cocktails were tasty - they have a very nice house made tonic water we both liked. Over all, I think this restaurant has a lot of potential, but I've had much better and would rather go to Kybecca across the street in the same town.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Rachel L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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242 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    112
    83
    23
    15
    9
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Fredericksburg, VA
Level Contributor
23 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Sadly Disappointing”
Reviewed May 28, 2014

We made phone reservations for a special occasion, hoping to be overwhelmed. We weren't. The service was very good, the food wasn't. My wife's appetizer had burnt pita bread that was turned upside down in an effort to hide the burnt side. My steak was tough and tasteless. The rest of the meal was mediocre, I could have done it myself at home. And no one said even one word to us about the special occasion. I'm writing this not as a complaint but to let the owners know that they have a problem.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Sacha0811
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“A favorite go-to restaurant”
Reviewed May 28, 2014

I was surprised to see several negative reviews for Bistro Bethem because our experience has always been first rate - both for food and service. Blake is a master craftsman in the kitchen. He has an especially deft touch with seafood.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Roy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fredericksburg, Virginia
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Worst eating experience that I can recall”
Reviewed May 22, 2014

How do they get their raving reviews? We ate there for an anniversary and it was anything but special. Split pea and ham soup had 5 or 6 split peas. Was more like dishwater. Had some steak strips that may have come from a can. Ordered potato fingers and got 4 tiny potatoes that were covered over by the few little strips of beef and cheap sauce. All were NOT even warm. Dinner for my wife and I, with tip, came to $78. I guess we could have had 3 strawberries for dessert for an additional 12 dollars each. What a joke. Oh, on the positive side: The bread was quite good but we got only two small pieces which after eaten, the bread plates and the dipping plate were quickly removed. Additionally, they did keep the water glass topped off.

This is the first review that I have ever written but it is certainly a place that deserves it.
If there was ever a restaurant in which I would never return, this is it. I'd like to interview anyone that ever went back for a second visit. I suppose they get the unsuspecting visitors to downtown Fredericksburg.

In summation: Poor food, poorly prepared, scant servings, noisy atmosphere, and exorbitant prices for what you get. We went away hungry, poorer and very disillusioned.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
5 Thank JSDorfman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth, Virginia
Level Contributor
92 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Horrible”
Reviewed May 11, 2014

Terrible service, slow food at ridiculous prices. Went to celebrate graduation weekend with long-standing reservation. We were the second table seated after they kept everyone waiting outside opening late. It took forever to get through the meal -- about 2 1/2 hours and we skipped dessert because we didn't want to waste another hour waiting around for it. Small over priced portions; several of our party had a "Beef Two Ways" special which despite being ordered medium rare showed up as shoe leather. Expected much more from a restaurant that's been around a few years and has the hype. (I have no idea what was wrong this day, but am guessing the chef didn't show up or something which would explain the slowness and food quality.)

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
5 Thank Mariner65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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