Boston Restaurant Blog -- November, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I find myself going to restaurant chains less and less often these days, and I also find myself avoiding shopping malls unless absolutely necessary. Well, this past weekend I happened to do both, but the restaurant I went to was rather unique, being tucked away in the upper floor of a department store. And both the food and service were quite good, making for a very nice overall experience. The restaurant? Cafe Bistro, which is within the relatively new Nordstrom at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree.
As mentioned, Cafe Bistro is located on the third floor of the Nordstrom department store, with a small, attractive entrance along the north-facing wall of the shop. The interior of the eatery looks almost upscale, which makes sense, since Nordstrom is a bit more high-end than your typical anchor store within a mall. Rich woods and warm lighting can be found throughout the dining area, though some of the window tables along the back wall suffer from glaring narrow-focus spotlights that you might find in an art studio. An open kitchen is situated behind the ordering area, with a brick oven built into the wall. Views from the tables along the back wall are mostly of the parking lot below, but you can also see a hint of the Blue Hills in the distance.
Our visit to Cafe Bistro began with our ordering food and drink in the front area where you first enter the place, then grabbing a seat along the back wall. Our beers were brought over almost immediately (their selection is limited, but does include Blue Moon Belgian White), and as we started sipping our drinks, we were struck by how unpleasant the spotlight was above our table. I noticed that each table along the wall had a different amount of light hitting it, so we moved to another table that had a bit less glare. Our meals came quickly and included a roast turkey focaccia with crispy prosciutto, peppery arugula, and a fairly mellow garlic aioli on toasted bread, as well as a gourmet brick-oven pizza with wild mushrooms, roasted garlic, basil, and four different cheeses. Both the sandwich and the pizza were satisfying, with the delicious prosciutto within the sandwich being the highlight of the former, and the mouthwatering blend of cheeses on the pizza really standing out with the latter. Prices were a little high, with the sandwich being just over $10 and the individual-size pizza being about the same, but the freshness of the food seemed to justify the prices. Our servers were very friendly and professional, and the staff in general was top-notch.
So yes, Cafe Bistro is a chain, and yes, it is located within a department store in a shopping mall. But if you didn't know any of this, you might think it was an independent dining spot, and a good one at that. My aversion to chains may have been dealt a blow with this place, but I'm certainly not complaining.
If you would like the address for Cafe Bistro in Braintree, here it is: Cafe Bistro, 250 Granite Street, Braintree, MA, 02184. Phone: (781) 519-7200
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