Bridge Road Bistro – Bridge Road Shops, Charleston, WV
I’ll admit it. I get excited about going to “fancy” places. I don’t mind spending the money because I enjoy food so much. When I go on vacation, I spend time researching area restaurants before I even hit the road. The highlight of my trip to Charleston, SC last summer was a meal at Hank’s. I made a big deal of going there and getting dressed up, and taking pictures… So I tend to develop expectations when a place is talked up and I am looking forward to dining there.
Such is the case with Bridge Road Bistro. People have hyped it. It’s supposed to be awesome. The little taste I got at cocktail hour a couple weeks ago told me there was good food, but I wouldn’t get much and it would cost a pretty penny. Sort of like that credit card commercial where the young couple finally gets a reservation at a nice restaurant but when they get their food it is microscopic so they have to hit the Go-Mart afterward to buy a bunch of junk food. But if that microscopic food is really delicious, I might be okay with it.
You may be predicting, based on the headline, that I was not okay with the BRB.
The menu choices looked fantastic. In fact, I was having a devil of a time deciding what to select. I considered the jerk pork sandwich, the tikka masala wrap, the caprese pannini and the orrichiette with asparagus. I even quizzed the waiter on what was good and he recommended the jerk pork but also assured me the orrichiette was delicious. You may as well know this about me since we’re friends now: I am a sucker for asparagus. You could list “sauteed dog turds with asparagus” and I would be tempted to order it, thinking I’ll just pick out the dog turds in order to get the asparagus. The orrichiette came with asparagus, wild mushrooms, and a cream sherry sauce. Oh no. Another one of my weaknesses, sherry. And our trusty waiter said it was good….
Someone at my table attempted to order the grilled chicken sandwich after careful consideration and was disappointed to find out WHEN THEY ORDERED IT that the kitchen was out of chicken. How do you let that happen???? In a ….world? I don’t think the manangement of BRB realizes that you can purchase raw chicken at Ashton Place Kroger, Southridge Wal Mart and Sam’s. Wouldn’t it be worth their while to go get some freakin’ chicken? And if you are out of something, please break the news when you deliver the menus. Don’t wait until the diner has made a decision to tell them they have to start all over.
But that hiccup didn’t affect me. No….I had decided on the orrichiette with asparagus. I didn’t even flinch at the $13.50 price tag – asparagus is practically priceless. We continued on with conversation until the meals arrived. That’s when I started flinching.
My friend said she didn’t even think mine looked appetizing and refused to taste it. She had ordered the jerk pork on baguette and I had immediate Food Envy. Damn. I hate it when that happens. But you can’t really judge a dish until you taste it, right? I surveyed the size of the bowl. It was approximately nine inches in diameter, including the wide rim. This was indeed a small portion of pasta. And I didn’t get any type of a side – no salad, no bread, no “how do ya do”. Nada. The smell wasn’t making me anxious to dig in, either. It was so heavy on the wild mushrooms, I couldn’t catch a whiff of the sherry that tempted me on the menu description. But you can’t make a judgment until you taste it.
So I did. The pasta was cooked perfectly to al dente. I especially liked the bites where three of the “little ears” were stacked on top of each other. You know that vintage Wendy’s commercial where the old lady says “where’s the beef”? Well, I was asking “where’s the asparagus?” I unzipped my fashionable red handbag, pulled out a magnifying glass, and gazed at the teeny tiny bowl. Oh, yeah….there it is! I realized how the California gold diggers must have felt when a glimmering lump of gold was discovered after sifting through tray after tray of dirt. I had maybe two spears cut into 1/4″ to 1/2″ pieces. Some of the scallion pieces were bigger than the asparagus. And the asparagus micro-bits were pale green in color, indicating they had spent a little much time in the hot tub. My thoughts on the sauce was just that it was overwhelmed with mushroom flavor instead of a complement to the sherry. I didn’t even finish my dish.
Lucky for me, my friend felt sorry for me and offered me a half of a half of her jerk pork sandwich. This was a delicious sandwich! It not only boasted jerk-seasoned pork, but also ham, pineapple, provolone, and spicy, grainy mustard. Sort of like a Hawaiian pizza sandwich on steroids. The bread at first glance appeared to be uninteresting, but it was lightly toasted and had a nice crispiness. My friend and I could have happily split that meal – she got a huge sandwich, fries, and coleslaw for $12.50. She had the option of homemade chips instead of fries – someone else at our table got chips and my uninvited sampling indicated they were very good. I am going to assume the fries were great because she didn’t offer me any of those!
Another dining pet peeve, and proof that the management at BRB have not yet been introduced to Fork You: the waiter brought ONE CHECK for an obvious group of co-workers.
My dining partners kept telling me I just ordered “the wrong thing”. But I will contend that every item on the menu ought to be good and worthy of ordering. I was sorely disappointed with the pasta dish and I beleive BRB should consider replacing its spot on the menu with something decent, or make significant improvements to their recipe. This dish is not on the menu on the BRB website which suggests that it is a new item. If they need a taste-tester…remember that I am a sucker for asparagus. Based on what I ordered and what I sampled off everyone else’s plates, I am going to rate BRB THREE FORKS. I think they have great potential to make me a happy diner after they clean the riff-raff off their menu.Bridge Road Bistro 915 Bridge Road Charleston, WV 25314 304-720-3500