Sometimes you go to a restaurant and you can tell the meal will be doomed from the beginning. You keep hoping for a bright spot and wind up being disappointed. It is those instances when you should really trust your judgment and quit while you are ahead. This is exactly what happened to us at Bistro 72 in Riverhead, except we didn't quit. We forged through into a major disappointment.
This meal was celebrating a few special occasions: our 8 year anniversary, Big Z's last day of Pre-K and the $50 Groupon offer that we purchased last week for $15. How bad could it be? Bad.
Bistro 72 is located in the Hotel Indigo in Riverhead - dangerously close to the Tanger outlets and the North Fork Vineyards. While the Hotel Indigo tries to be a retro-type kitschy motel, it is still too reminiscent of a Motel 6, albeit a modern one. The restaurant is intended to be a draw for everyone - from hotel guests, to the mobs on their way to the Hamptons, to local residents like us. But at the end of the day, it still is a hotel restaurant that serves three squares and always has a TV on - even in the dining room.
The warning signs started when we arrived and there was no host or hostess in sight, but there was a sign that read "Please wait to be seated". So we waited. And waited. JB asked the person at the check-in desk for assistance and eventually the bartender helped us.
We were handed several menus: Regular, Pre-Fixe, Kids, Wine, Cocktail. Our table was probably a 6-top for our party of 4, and there was still no room on the table for all of the menus. I had read on their website that Tuesdays have half-price wines by the glass night and was told, "Sorry, only at the bar". We each ordered a glass of Sparkling Pointe champagne, in an attempt to celebrate.
Bread service may have been the highlight of the meal. We each received crackers and a poppy seed roll, that came with a trifecta of condiments - olive oil & vinegar, butter and bruschetta.
Our champagne still hadn't arrived mid-way through the bread course and the waitress explained that they were looking for a cold bottle. Meanwhile, JB found two chipped water glasses on our table and asked for replacements.
JB insisted on a starter of a tomato salad. Three beefsteak tomatoes came covered with feta and a champagne vinaigrette with some grape leaves and the biggest beans I've ever seen mixed in. Truly a strange combination. The dressing turned out to be the only champagne we'd have that night for we soon learned that indeed there was no champagne. I opted instead for a glass of Rose and JB gave up and ordered a Diet Coke.
For our mains, the boys shared a plain burger with fries as did I, though mine had cheese. I will admit that the burger was adequate, but nothing spectacular or to go back for. I asked for salad instead of fries and was given a huge arugula, strawberry and ricotta salata concoction. It was downright odd. Usually the salad instead of fries is some simple lettuce and maybe a dressing. This was some kind of chef experiment and I was the innocent taster. The favors were all wrong, similar to the tomato salad.
JB had ordered a brisket sandwich which he likened to corned beef covered with cheese and barbecue sauce.
So we redeemed our Groupon and ran out of there. I was happy at least not to pay Retail for that meal!
Until our next Berger,
Hotel Indigo East End
1830 West Main Street, Route 25
PS -- We did have some amazing ice cream for dessert at Snowflake Ice Cream down the street. Ice cream for dinner, anyone?