Let's just set the mood, shall we? With Valentine's Day fast approaching, I was pretty sad to learn that Weston definitely couldn't make it down to Richmond due to work conflicts. I mean, I am kind of in love with all things pink and red and heart shaped...especially edible things (like cupcakes!!!)...I digress. Anyway, a friend of mine asked me out for dinner Saturday night so I slapped on a smile and got ready to go. I walked outside the apartment building because she was picking me up, looked left, look right - saw my boyfriend!!! He drove 10 hours just to ask me to be his Valentine. How's that for surprise. The whole day he'd been telling me about his "trip to the grocery store" and "the bank" and it was all a rouse... sneaky sneaky. But I loved it because oh how much I missed him.
I had wanted to go to Tastebuds for Valentine's Day, before I discovered he couldn't make it, but Weston always plans his surprises to a tee and had already made reservations at a place which I was not allowed to know the name of until we got there. I was super psyched when I turned the corner and saw that we'd be trying Bistro 27.
Lo and behold, Bistro 27 is about 3 blocks from my apartment. It's pretty tiny, as are most restaurants in Richmond (except Can Can) and it was packed. I was extremely excited...to start. The restaurant is set up with tables near windows and near a mid-line divider and then there are a couple teeny tables in the center of the two - right in the aisleway , basically. These table are narrower and quite awkward. Guess where they put us. Even though there were 3 other open tables in nice locations. Weston, a former waiter, made the astute observation that all the young couples, the ones who probably wouldn't be drinking or paying top dollar, were seated in the bad seats. I'm sorry, but they really were bad - by the restrooms, in the aisle way - these seats do not a romantic evening make. But we were resigned to having a good time, especially considering the crazy-high priced menu. But we'll get there.
Let's talk about service. Insert here all synonyms for "dismissive" and "condescending." We were seated with no introduction, water was plopped in front of us, the dip on the table was not mentioned or explained, and then we waited...and waited. Finally, a sullen looking waitress stopped by and threw the menus down on the table. When I asked about cocktails, she said they didn't have any specials and walked away. I think we saw her about 3 times during the entire meal. We were never asked how the food was, never offered extra utensils when we transitioned to dessert, and never smiled at when some random guy arrived with our food, set it in front of us, and - surprise, surprise - walked away without saying anything. My lasting impressions of service: I think this about sums it up. Our waiter told us at the end of the meal, "Look at yooooou, you've cleaned your plates. Now you can have dessert." Seriously? Seriously. Yes, we are young. But we're also paying customers and deserve a little respect.
Ok, food. It was good. Didn't blow me away by any means. The bread on the table was cold and hard which meant they hadn't made it in-house or it was stale - maybe both. I ordered lobster ravioli which had a good amount of stuffing and the proportion was nice: 6 ravioli. The pricing was not: $25. Weston got scallops and shrimp with saffron ink noodles. The noodles were very good, I will say. They were cold by the time we found the waitress to ask for a spoon, though. I do need to mention that although the saffron sauce had a lot of saffron threads, it didn't taste much like saffron - I think they might have been going for quantity rather than quality of that particular ingredient. Switching gears, the shrimp were cooked well, as were the scallops, and his portion was a good sized one. The orchids on the plate were a little much...flowers drooping with cream sauce are not the most appetizing. Dessert was pleasant: cheesecake with a hint of rosewater. Although, they advertised it as having a layer of pound cake, which it did not. When I asked if it was served with ice cream, I was told we'd be charged an extra dessert for changing the menu so we did without.
I am sorry to say that I have found the first restaurant in Richmond that I really did not fall in love with. I wanted to, I really did. But I suppose it is a testament to how comfortable our relationship has become that Weston and I both had an amazing time anyway. Somehow the contradiction of Bistro 27's grandiose reputation and the actual experience was comical. And a special thanks to the undergraduate couple next to us for providing the entertainment for the evening: I don't think I've ever seen such ill-mannered people in a restaurant ever.
All in all, we left full but unsatisfied. The next day, we headed straight over to Tastebuds and, as usual, had an amazing meal. Oh! And they made me that Valentine's Day cocktail, compliments of the owners.