Bistro 33/2005 Reviews

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To ensure that comments reflect the current state of Bistro 33, the comments made during its first few months have been moved here. Please put new developments on the Bistro 33 page.

Pro

I was taken to this restaurant today by my coworkers (it's my birthday). I had a delicious vegetable gratin (no stinting with the butter HERE). A friend had the crabcakes, another friend had the blue cheese salad. We were all very happy. It was cool enough to sit outside and the outdoor pavilion area is really nice, spacious, lively. It felt like being in the south of France, bulldozers and everything. Good prices too. Lucky we got there when we did; it filled up at lunch, both indoors and out. Looks like a grownup bar, though we didn't try it. -AlisonKent

2005-09-04 12:27:35   I tried this place on friday night and loved it. Its just what Davis needed. I'm tired of the boring scene and a nice outdoor restaurant with a trendy bar is so refreshing. God, I miss living in a big city. I tried the puget sound and it was great. My martini's were also well made although a little pricey ($5.50) Of course this place still has its cons: A little overpriced for Davis and the service needs improvement. I for one am looking forward to going here a lot more in the fall —KarthikRam

2005-09-16 20:35:41 This place is amazing. In good and bad ways. I finally had a chance to check it out, and wow! It's huge and is very ambitious. They seem to have relatively few bartenders per capita, and I think this causes quite a few of the problems described above. I also hear that their bouncers are from a private security firm in Sacramento, but my source was a guy in line, waiting to get in last night. I was expecting a much gaudier interior based on some of the descriptions above, but I'd say it worked overall. It's similar to other nice restaurants in Davis. And not to too much dull the impact of the comment immediately above this one, but sometimes one employee at a certain place can cause problems— but this is pretty typical of any place with alcohol involved, especially among people overwhelmed by a crowd. Oh well. I think it adds something to Davis that is quite positive, and will only get better as its staff become more attuned to their jobs. Plus, judging it now is a little premature, as it obviously won't be THAT slammed with people once it stops being "the new place in town." Oh, and the food till midnight (W-Sat) is a big plus! —JaimeRaba

2005-09-06 03:54:24   I work here, so my opinions are pretty biased. Service wise I think we improve every day as we get used to the space we have and how best to utilize it. I think generally the staff and service is great although I can admit it can have weak links (as with anything else). Ask to be seated in my section and I'll take care of you. My recommendations from what I've eaten: Shrimp Cigars, Pancetta Prawns, Uncle Bum's Jerked Ribs (GREAT for a carnivore), Any salad with Citrus Shallot Dressing, Kung Pau Schrimp Pizza, Any Panini, Fettucini with Seared Prawns (the Memou sauce sounds simple but was the most surprisingly delicious, what kick!), Bistro Meatloaf, Sage & Prosciutto Roasted Chicken, Espresso Pate, Daily Gelato, and lastly Smiley Fries (they are really oddly amazing) —AlvinTsao

2005-09-28 09:38:13   Not sure what everyone is complaining about. My girlfriend and I visited yesterday for my birthday and had a great time. I will say the service was a little slow, but they were not rude and were apologetic when we had to ask 3 times for bread after it was offered. I’m sure this is due to the fact they have been open for just over a month and will improve with time. We both eat and drank for less than $80 (including 15% tip) and when we usually go out to celebrate its more like $150. We shared the fries as a starter and had the crispy polenta and meatloaf(lamb and pork sausage; no beef) Everything tasted great. We had 4 glasses of wine and one beer. I didn’t think the drinks were overpriced; $4.50 for a microbrew on tap, not bad. When I go out to eat my expectations of the food quality are pretty high. I get really upset if I have to pay for something that I could have made better at home. We will defiantly be back a few more time before we grow tired of the same options. —AjBerge

2005-10-01 01:22:19   Enjoyable Californian Cuisine. I have visited Bistro 33 twice. The first time I visited was actually on their test run a couple days before their real opening. On that day I came with two girlfriends and our 3 kids. The servers were nice, though extremely busy with an influx of customers that I don't think they were expecting. I ordered a wood-fired pizza and a glass of Zinfandel. One of my girlfriends ordered the steak sandwich which they ate with gusto. Our kids had chicken tenders, fries, etc. I found the experience fun and enjoyable. The staff was also quite nice to our kids (this doesn't always happen at fine restuarants.) The second time we visited was with my husband and daughter. I had a delicious house salad and crabcakes. My husband enjoyed the french onion soup and cesar salad. As far as what they need to improve on: I would recommend a seasonal menu or at least a different menu for lunch and dinner. I also thought *some* of the food prices were high. It was $12.95 for two small crabcakes. —SherryOneal

2005-10-02 14:17:33   Had lunch with my girlfriend today at about noon. There were a few too many servers standing around in the corner, but our server (Hollie) was great! I was a little worried coming in, due to some reviews above. It may possibly have been we beat most the lunch crowd. It didn't start filling up until 1ish, when we were leaving. We got the Kennebec Fries, two sandwiches (Puget Sound and the Gorge), and Creme Brulee as a desert - the food was great! Sandwiches were a little smaller then I'd hope for, but with the fries and desert we were full for only about $30. I was surprised that they didn't have a desert menu printed yet.

2005-11-17 08:37:15 The waiter was nice when he found out it was my birthday (from my license). Gave us a free chocolate pate desert, lil candle and all, it was yummy. —ES

2005-10-18 22:44:24   I work at another restaurant, and I find the service pretty good. I usually sit at the bar. The food is excellent in my opinion. I like the burger and the paninis, and good clam chowder as well. As for service issues, any new place will have them. Give it a couple months before judging.

One thing that struck me as odd—a friend and I sat at the bar the very first night Bistro was open and weren't carded. We are both 25, and certainly look close enough to card. In fact I haven't ever been carded in the half dozen or so times I've been there. Alvin, it may be too late if what I hear is true, but tell your mgmt to crack down on checking IDs!!! The ABC has very little tolerance for lazy ID checking. —JeffSpeckles

Mixed

2005-09-08 16:30:00   I went to Bistro 33 last Thursday. We were told there would be a 25 minute wait (which turned out to be 100% accurate) before getting our table, so we sat at the rather ample bar. First off, the decor in this place attempts to be ultra modern, but ends up being a bit tedious. The fire columns surrounding the bar are superfluous, but fun to watch. Bar service was prompt and friendly despite how busy it was. Full Sail Pale Ale and Rogue Dead Guy Ale on tap are always welcome by belly, taboot. I didn't order any mixed drinks, so I can't comment on that. After exactly 25 minutes (really!) we were seated outside, thankfully. Inside it seemed hectic and boisterous, but outside the tables were sparsely placed and the atmosphere was more calm. Service was sufficient to keep me happy, but the beer and wine helped with that as well. : ) I believe we ended up getting 3 bread baskets, and there weren't any funny looks from the waitstaff as a result. I can't stand when there's any reticence on a waiter's part when you order extra bread. What is it for, decoration? Anyway, I ordered the Nicoise salmon salad, which I enjoyed thoroughly. The salmon was perfectly cooked and rather moist. The girl I was eating with ordered the meatloaf. I will admit, I've never liked meatloaf, but this was pretty damn tasty, very tender and well spiced. I don't think it was all beef. Some moist mystery meat (pork?) was likely used a filler. We ordered desert, but I don't remember eating it, so no comment. Overall, this place has its issues, but that is to be expected with a new restaurant that is often inundated with people. I will most certainly go back, and will try again to sit outside. Recommended, but YMMV...—MarcRehfuss

2005-09-08 21:21:58   I agree with other commentators that the service sucks. With that many people running around why didn't we get water within 5 mins of sitting down? Why did our appetizer arrive after the salads? I enjoyed the peach catsup with the fries as an appetizer. Also enjoyed the "Puget Sound" panini, although this is not a diet dish (very heavy on the creamy cheese). I would try this restaurant again although I think it would be better to sit outside. —SamanthaGrant

2005-10-02 15:14:11   I went there yesterday with my dad and sister. I thought the food was good but it was overpriced. I thought that I would get my money worth, but I didnt. I paid 19 dollars for the salmon dish and it was small. I'll give Bistro another try if I go there again. —SimonFung

2005-10-16 12:11:12   their drinks are heavily watered down during bar nights, but the guys are hott. I WISH the waitress had spit in our soup...would've made it less salty, at least. —ApolloStumpy

2005-12-29 09:19:50   I visited a server friend of mine at Bistro 33 the other night. I see what people mean about trendy atmosphere, but it wasn't you know, a 5 star restaurant or anything. I sat at the bar and drank a martini, which was pretty good. The bartender was nice and not too attentive (yet still attentive enough). I chatted it up with a girl next to me. She said she liked to come to the bar at Bistro 33 because the people were a bit more professional than the other establishments around Davis. The only food I ordered was fries. I agree with whoever said they were just like In-n-Out fries. I was a tiny-bit disappointed at how fast they came considering they were just damned fries. But, they were decently tasty, and they came with blue-cheese, vinegar and house sauce to dip them in, which was pretty grand. —SS

2005-12-25 15:54:28   The Bistro Clam chowder was flavorful and outperformed the Clear Clam Chowder, which had a hearty celery and vegetable flavor but no detectable seafood flavor. The fries were dead-ringers for thin In-N-Out fries. They went well with the blue cheese dressing, but were overpowered by the malt vinegar and overshadowed by the peach ketchup. The crab and artichoke dip was generous on the crab, and worth the cost. The Crispy Polenta really hit the spot, and offered a combination of savory mushrooms, bitter greens, fontina cheese, and a great crunch. Finally, the creme brulee was well made and enjoyed by the rest of my party, but I enjoyed the cobbler more. I've eaten dinner here three times, and there's been a problem with the service every single time. They've brough out the entrees at different times, brought entrees we didn't even order, brought our appetizers after our entrees, and brought the fries without the side dips. —CraigBrozinsky

Con

This restaurant has a bit of an identity crisis. Part of this stems from not carrying over any of the exterior design of the building into the interior decor. Another problem is that it tries to be all things to all people: undergrad sports bar? wealthy Davis middle ager dinner spot? Unclear. The music can be too loud for dinner conversation and the flat screen tvs with football are sometimes distracting.

Crappy, rude service. They sat 7 of us at a booth that really only fit 6. When we asked for an extra chair, was was really confused at to why the manager gave us hard time and was rude, and furthermore walks around with a pissy look on his face and has no interpersonal skills. Food was decent, when and if we got it. Everyone's food came to the table at different times. They forgot to bring us drinks, and the drinks that were served to us were the wrong ones. The restaurant is so "Chic" it is gaudy, including sparly tiles, stupid looking tapestries on the ceiling, and silly flames behind the bar. Shame they did this to a historic building, it should have been renovated in a more conservative manner-I'm surprised the historical society permitted it. I would definitely not recommend going there, at least until they stop acting like they are doing YOU a big favor.—StevenJinks

2005-09-12 14:37:45   Our waitress was incredibly spacey and ditzy (perhaps she was new?), forgetting to bring us things like more water or ketchup, and screwing up one of our partys' orders. I ordered the coconut prawns, which were pretty tasty, but not at $2 a freaking prawn. The dish was just under $10 and I got five prawns, which left me hungry and angry. Drinks were also quite expensive, but no more so than other fancy establishments (i.e. Cheesecake Factory, Outback, etc). I probably wouldn't go here again unless someone else were paying. —MargieHalloran

2005-09-16 17:10:02   Saturday Night... stopped off for a drink and to sample Davis' new addition... heralded as "classy"; I have nothing to say but trashy. I was rudely yelled at by the bar tender, only to hear from the crowd next to me that he had been acting like an "ass" all night... as if the three feet separating us had somehow been transformed into the grand canyon... did I hear him correctly...? I think the "bistro" had gone to his head... when I answered back equally as loud he threatened me with having me thrown out... this is davis, not LA... and the secret service bouncers outside needed to report back to the white house... this UC Davis, not USC. I stayed long enough to stiff him and fight through the mass of underage drinkers. I'm all for a new bar/restaurant downtown... but no one appreciates an overpriced "ass". —AustinMerrill

2005-09-18 19:17:07   If you want wood-oven, gourmet pizza, this is not the place to go. My friends and I ordered three types of pizza: BBQ chicken, mushroom, and pepperoni/sausage. Aside from the pizzas' quality (sparse and mediocre toppings) and quantity (only eight inches) being incommensurate with the price ($9.95), the service was inattentive. If only Davis had an [WWW]Il Vicino! —ZacharyNorwood

2005-09-22 00:53:42   I've gone to Bistro 33 twice. The 1st time was for lunch and the food was overpriced and some food was disagreeable. I agree with the previous review regarding their 2 chowders and their service was slow but reasonable. I gave them a 2nd chance for a snack at 11 PM. Although the kitchen is open till midnight, the bouncers were out in force and were rude and demanded ID. I know that's their job but I told them off the bat that I only wanted dinner but they demanded ID regardless during their power trip. After dealing with the asses at the gate, I stood at the hostess station but didn't see a greeter and left soon afterward. I wouldn't mind if the service was like this at a club but if the restaurant's kitchen is still open, I expect to be treated as a customer who simply wants food. I was insulted to be treated like a criminal by the bouncers and ignored by the staff. I'm never going back. —LiRic

2005-10-02 10:54:57   The food was pretty good, but there was hardly enough of it. My entree was a grand total of FIVE ravioli. Five! So my boyfriend and I actually ended up getting three entrees, and we were still hungry afterwards. The atmosphere was so-so. If you want a nice night out, go to Soga's or the Mustard Seed. They have better food, more food, and a nicer atmosphere. —AndreaStewart

2005-10-16 18:04:39   Decent food, but not always worth the price. I went to Bistro 33 for my first time at lunch today. I ordered the crab cakes and the Puget Sound panini. Both were delicious. However, the prices leave something to be desired. The panini wasn't too expensive for what I got, but the crab cakes? I ordered them to split with another person. At $12.95, we figured we'd get a decent amount of crab cakes and we got two. TWO. The crab cakes were good, but not worth over $6 per cake. Service was so-so. Our server was absent for long periods of time and sometimes missed things we'd ask for, but not too horrible. —RachelPeters

2005-10-18   I wrote a comment about how one of the waitresses was rude to a group of my frineds who happened to be leaving when I arrived one evening. My friends got their food paid for that night. On another occasion, I was assigned to the same woman's section, and she told me she had spit in our food. I notice that my discussion of this event is missing from this page, possibly because I did not list my name. Because there are several other comments by people who do not use their name, I kindly request that this note be left up, as it discusses the restaurant and is relevant. Unfortunately, none of the comments on this site can be verified, or shown to be untrue. But if we are to leave one up, we should leave them all. —DisgustedDiner

2005-12-05 19:13:50   I had the Pudget Sound panini and it was devoid of any vegetables and that made the sandwich taste starchy, so I put the side salad on top of it. Overall, better sandwiches at Delta or the Nugget for a fraction of the price. As for the atmosphere, it's bleh to me, but I'm not into the cute-dressing-up-ness. Also, the outside decor reminded me of SF's Holocaust Memorial, not to relate the two at such a shallow level. —ShayneErw

2005-12-12 12:56:19   Very Bad service, not very good food... The food was partialy OK mostly not good (for example the onion soup or the mushroom reviouly) the pizza got to the table cold and was heated in the microwave in 10 second. The wine was opened served into a dirty glass then pour to everyone without even the option to taste (she actually move the wine from the lipstick makred glass to a different one and left it to us !!!) and then the kids menu came with chicken fingers with 3 smily fies and then when we asked for addition (3!!, who's child will have enough) we were charged for it. The hair in the creme broule was a simbolic ending for a place that doesn't worth it, and defintly doesn't worth 30 mintues wait for a table —GilCo

2005-12-12 18:02:09   I wonder if the management of Bistro 33 reads this page? Most of these problems would be SO easy to fix, and customers would be much happier. So much potential at this very nice location with a pleasant (although perhaps slightly overpriced) menu. I also one time, ordered a menu item that was completely innacurate in its description. Just little stupid things like that need to be overcome, if they're going to be as excellent as they potentially could be. —JaimeRaba

2005-12-18 22:01:50   The bouncers here are complete assholes. They make the guests feel unwelcome. —HenWeigh

2005-12-19 08:37:34   I was a little disappointed by the quality of the service, the salted cheesecake, the fries and the artichoke dip. None of them were high quality. —JackHaskel

2005-12-19 13:53:15   went there Friday 12/16- will probably never go again. When we came in at 5:30 we were told it would be a 30 min wait, it ended up being 50 mins. The hostess apologized and was really friendly though. Then we were seated in a booth but we had 6 people ( 4 adults+2 kids). Because the bar is too close to the boothes, we kept getting elbowed by everyone who would walk by...We were given kids menus but the server didn't give the kids the drinks and fries that were supposed to come with the meal-we asked and she had to look at the menu to make sure that they were really supposed to get drinks but said the fries were a typo and they hadn't taken it off the menus yet. She gave us the fries anyway. For the money one pays, this is definitly not worth it. It was way too loud, cramped, and overpriced. Just not worth it overall. —MyaBrn

I have no clue

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2005-09-25 00:43:52   So I heard that one of the investors got tazered and the manager got fired because of an incident last week. Apparently the investor's bimbo girlfriend got upset when the investor was talking to anthoer girl, and broke a candle over his head. Someone called the cops, who showed up and tried to break up the fight. The investor got all up in the cop's faces, and tried to put one of the cops in a headlock. The investor was arrested, and put in the back of the cop car, at which point, the bimbo he was with, went around to the other side of the cop car and let him out and he started running down the street. The cops the tazered him and took him to jail. The next day, the cops met with the manager, who came to the meeting drunk. The cops said, ok, fine we'll just take your liquor liscence. And Bistro 33 fired the manager as recompense for the incident. —ArlenAbraham


2005-11-20 21:40:23   So I just came back from this restaurant. Note that I only had about 75 dollars in my bank account at the time, so every penny means the world to me. But I went to this restaurant for a one year anniversary. The food was alright, and the service was nice. But when I came back home to check my available balance, I found out that I was overcharged. What the hell!!! So I thought I tipped quite generously, but I was ripped off of a very precious 2 dollars. 2 dollars could have paid for a very cheap meal the next day, but oh no... this restaurant took away the money I needed for survival. I am not returning ever again. It's only two dollars, but it's the principle of it all. —KimYee

2005-12-19 09:01:18   I still have yet to go to this place to eat, but I have a friend who works as a server there. She says that when Bistro opened, a lot of the servers were green (did not have like, much to any experience serving) and that is what resulted in "a lot of bad reviews on the Davis Wiki." She's not a wikiholic, so I guess someone is talking about the fact that so many Davis residents are displeased with the quality of the service. I also heard (and right now, this is just a rumor until someone confirms it) that someone injured themselves very badly on the concrete patio on a bar night; effectively killing Bistro as a happening bar spot in Davis. —SS

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