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16 January, 2006
Bistro of Santa Monica
Poor K.M. had to work over the weekend so she opted for a quiet birthday dinner. We ended up at Bistro of Santa Monica a few blocks from her place.
It was our first visit to the restaurant. The ambiance was understated with a pianist playing contemporary classics in the background.
As we waited for our entreés from the long list of specials our server recited, we enjoyed a bottle of Gaetano D'Aquino valpolicella. I can't remember the vintage but it was good and fairly priced. It went well with the dense house bread served with olive oil infused with herbs and roasted garlic. K.M. also opened her gifts and as we hoped, she was quite pleased.
For starters, we all had the spinach salad with feta cheese, walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette. D. and our other friend K.G. chose the grilled salmon and scallops with pink sauce as their entrée. K.M. chose the cajun swordfish and I chose the crab ravioli with lobster sauce. For dessert, we ordered two servings of the chocolate soufflé.
All the dishes were decent, standard bistro fare. Since the regular menu was reasonably priced, we thought the specials would be as well. That is why I was annoyed to discover when the bill arrived that the markup was twice what we expected.
On top of that, the salads cost extra when our server led us to believe they were covered by the price of the entrées. It seems he was trying to fatten the bill as much as possible. He was also pushing for a bottle of champagne before dinner and didn't bring out a complimentary serving of birthday cake for K.M. like we saw other tables get.
It was a pleasant enough dining experience except for the meal being overpriced. Moral of the story: stick to the regular menu at Bistro of Santa Monica.
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