The table was set for two, and the atmosphere was right for it—clean linens and large wine glasses sat at the ready after a warm and professional reception from Green Bistro staff. The lighting was more social than romantic, but what about the rest of the complete dining-experience checklist?
First to arrive was the bread service. Paired with capers and oil, the loaf was freshly moist and the grissini breadsticks hinted of rosemary, a nice treat as we waited on the house chardonnay and earthy-toned shiraz. They sipped well at RMB 35 a glass.
At this point, happy with efficient, soft-pedaled English service, we noted only that the full experience might have benefited by beginning with the drink order. The pacing, however, was excellent.
Our appetizer, a bruschetta, was an ideal touchstone in determining the quality of the meal to come. It’s a simple dish that can be bad or good decided by the freshness of the ingredients, portioning of herbs and the care of the chef. It was a well toasted, tomato-heavy dish smelling of basil and topped with whispers of chopped olive and shallot. Check.
Now the filet mignon, ordered medium-well—which without being butterfly-carved is challenging for the thick cut of beef—was awaited with skepticism. It arrived at nice medium-rare, maybe a little under seasoned, but refreshingly so. No complaints.
The pasta was served extra al dente. We were offered cracked pepper to top it. So as a test I refused, asking for grated cheese. To our surprise, the waiter’s giddy response was yes, hastily returning with a fresh block of parmigiana and a shredder. Pass.
To their credit, nothing was overstated. The plating was tasteful. The pasta was done to traditional Italian standards. The execution was only minutely off. It was a really nice evening. The only disappointment, while still quite enjoyable, was the crème brûlée. A sweet tooth’s favorite, this was more cream than custard under a (dare I say it) too thick, caramelized shell. The sweet to vanilla ratio was right, but the consistency just wasn’t perfect.
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