A couple weeks ago some blogger friends and I went out for dinner at the Black Cat Bistro on Preston. As always the company was wonderful, and from it comes this review. Photos courtesy of the lovely folks at FoodiePrints.

Price – A bit on the high side, but you get a fairly large portion. We were at the Black Cat for their Burger Tuesday, so of course I had to have a burger! For an appetizer, burger, glass of wine and glass of juice I paid $60 including tip and tax.

Ambiance – It’s a classy neighbourhood bistro. Classy enough that you feel that you are having a special night, but you still feel comfortable there. It’s bright, sunny and modern. You’re going to want to dress up a bit – but nothing more than you would wear to the office is necessary. Of  course you might want to go a little more fancy if it’s a Friday or Saturday night, but no need for the full suit and tie! 

Menu Options – A small, ever changing menu. There is always something there to peak your curiosity. Grilled tuna over a potato salad with melted cheese? Oh yes, they have it! In fact that was my appetizer. Odd combination, but it works! Just remember, as it’s printed on the menu – good food takes time. Unfortunately for our table, I think the wait time was a bit absurd… but more on that in a second.  

Food – That had to be the best hamburger I have ever had in my life. But after waiting over 90 minutes for it I’m not sure if it was actually that good or if I would have been raving over a McDonald burger at that point. I was famished. I was also fuming. Normally I would have been just annoyed at the wait – which really shouldn’t have been so long seeing as we were one of the first tables seated that evening. But since I had brought along ‘the kid’ I was in step-mom mode and ever aware that she was very hungry, there was no food in sight and that perhaps made me a bit more on edge.

The thing that annoyed me the most about the entire situation was the way it was handled by the staff. Right from the start of the night we suspected our server was fairly new. We weren’t being attended to in a timely manner, almost to the point where we were feeling ignored. After the hour mark, we had to flag down another server to bring us some more bread because we were just so hungry. After asking our server about when we could expect our burgers, it was pretty evident that our table was being avoided. Though, it can be hard to face a table of hungry people with no food to give them, but it would have been nice to at least get an explanation or an apology.

Then came the run in with the manager. We flagged him over to our table, told him that we still hadn’t received our food and it had been more than an hour and a half. No apology, no real explanation. Just a shrug and a fake smile telling us that the burgers take time. I’ve never felt so insulted.

With a promise to ‘the kid’ that if the food didn’t start to arrive in 5 minutes that we would pack up and head for the nearest sub shop – the food finally arrived. It was the best burger I had ever had – but it couldn’t save the evening. I was upset. More angry with the way the situation had been handled than the actual wait. Had there been a sincere apology from the word go, I would have been understanding. But no. We were made to feel unimportant and unwanted.

On the way out, we were stopped by Richard the manager once more and were finally given a half hearted apology for the wait time. I thanked him for that but really felt it was too little too late. Then ‘the kid’ piped up and told him that she told me we should have went to a different restaurant. Kids say the darndest things.

Overall – if I was basing this just on the decor and food I would have given it a 4 out of 5. But because I have to factor in wait time, price and service into my dining experience I’m bumping it down to a 2.5. It’s a nice place, but I hope no one else has the experience I did.  I can’t say I would rush back… but if they ever start doing their burgers as take out, I’ll consider it.

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