In a cosmic fluke, the members of the TS team were both in the downtown area the other day, and dropped by Abby Singer’s Bistro for lunch.
Located on the second floor of the incredibly awesome Robinson Film Center, the Bistro offers lunch, dinner and a variety of cocktails to both the Center’s patrons and the downtown crowd. We were excited to try this obviously eclectic eatery, and we are always interested in supporting all downtown establishments; we hope that current restoration efforts will help revitalize this historic and important part of our community.
We arrived relatively early for the lunch rush, and had our pick of seating. The décor of the Bistro reflected the hip, urban location, and we felt like we were finding a semi-hidden gem of the Shreveport restaurant scene. As for the food, the lunch menu featured a limited selection of sandwiches and salads, but the spectrum of offerings was diverse enough that we felt anyone could find something appealing.
Unfortunately, the tantalizing promise of the Bistro soon wilted under the weight of spotty service and mostly mediocre food. Given that the restaurant was practically empty, we anticipated a fairly brisk service, perfect for our workday lunch. However, shortly after taking our order, our server parked herself at the bar to visit with her coworkers. As a result, our drinks remained mostly empty, and a couple of other observant servers finally stepped in when even they realized that we had been abandoned. While we give those servers credit for going above and beyond, we felt that our service should never have fallen so obviously far, especially with management clearly observing.
As for food, both N and S were underwhelmed with our selections. N ordered the pulled pork barbecue sandwich with a side of fries. N felt that the pork was bland, overly sauced, and had the taste and presentation of a prepackaged product that had been scooped and reheated. The bun was chewy and tasteless, and his fries were poor quality and no better than a local fast food joint. While N didn’t feel that the food was bad per se, it was still something he would not order again or recommend to others. In fact, his common description throughout our meal was, “Meh…”
S ordered the chicken salad sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries. The chicken salad itself was a bizarre mix of unidentifiable ingredients, but S conceded that she is pretty dang picky about chicken salad. So, while that assessment should be taken for what it is, she maintains that this dish certainly falls last on her list of Shreveport chicken salad sandwiches. The sweet potato
fries were nothing special, and were seasoned with some type of cinnamon-sugar, which made them taste more like a dessert than an entrée accompaniment. Again, this may be a preference issue, but for the TS team, it further illustrated the disconnect between the “bistro” façade and the short-cut food we experienced. The outward appearance sets a standard to which the fare simply doesn’t live up.
While the TS team hates to write off a place that epitomizes what our downtown area could be with a little creativity and ingenuity, we won’t be back to Abby Singer’s Bistro any time soon. However, we still support the Robinson Film Center, and encourage everyone not to let the Bistro’s failings reflect on the Center itself. We’d still catch a film there any day.