GOOD EATS: Bistro 67 – Durham College managed dining

Fine dining restaurant operated by Durham College.

More sizzle, less steak…pretentious and presumptuous, but a near miss.

Reservations are a must on weekends as the potential patrons have the belief that they can fine dine a less than a dime.

Fine dining, it is not
Many potential patrons likely believe that they will dine superbly at Bistro 67 on a less costly bill. It is self-delusion for the prices of the menu items are comparable to established, professionally operated restaurants in Durham.

Menu and wine list emphasize local sourcing
The emphasis on the food items and the wine choices is to use local producers without sacrificing quality or taste. Mostly, Bistro 67 succeeds. The sourcing is as local as the front herb gardens which the dining room overlooks; the beef, pork, poultry and even the fish are from local sources and as good as can be expected given that the college likely does not buy the highest end of any foods they purchase.

DINNER MENU

There is no serious reason to complain about the fare or the wines offered at Bistro 67. The beef is not quite as tender as AAA prime offered elsewhere. No matter how praised a hamburger may be described on a menu, to offer it as a dinner choice in a seemingly high calibre restaurant says something about the restaurant. Or perhaps it says something about the clientele. A great number of the clientele on this Saturday night were ordering the burger. It was my fare of choice that evening, only because it is a test of the kitchen to see how it handles ground beef. Properly cooked ground beef should be juicy but cooked fully for safety’s sake. Mine was done like the charcoal upon which should have been cooked.

Flank steak, a side to my salad starter, would be outflanked by many other establishments serving this cut of meat. It was not appealing based on its touch texture and chewy bite-back, both shortcomings easily resolved by slicing the meat thinner.

 

Perhaps the accompanying diners were less demanding, more accepting of lower standards for this bistro’s fare as none complained and some praised what they were eating.

Desserts were pedestrian proffering at best. Lemon tart with a lightly torched meringue topping, sherbet one can purchase at one’s favourite food retailer. The espresso hit its target well, quality beans, fresh roasted and the brew served at the proper 180F temperature. The biscotti accompanying the coffee was commendable.

Sadly, the bar is limited and one needs to confirm proper wine order is being served as errors were made in one of the wines which we selected.

Service, personable if not at the level of properly professional
Service was very good in that the staff are diligent and attentive. They are uniformly attired in black and look the part, even if they slip occasionally in delivery and interactions with the patron. Sadly, the compliment given about the service cannot be spread to the bar. The bar offers less than many local restaurants, limited not just in the number of brands stocked but also in the kind of liquors available. Any restaurant seeing itself as competitive with local equal calibre restaurants must stock the basic liquors without exception: scotch, rye, rum, vodka, gin, and a few fortified wines, vermouth, Dubonnet and the like. Bistro 67 fails in this area.

Does Bistro 67 deserve a visit
Unreservedly, yes. The professionals who train and teach the student staff likely pride themselves on what they offer and what they produce. Even teens can learn how to cook a steak, how to make a basic pasta sauce, and much more. Bistro 67 deserves high marks for effort and good marks for production. Where they lapse, they barely lapse. One does not dine out looking for an extensive bar but one can expect prime quality results if one must pay the high freight costs. The bistro nearly hits the mark. I would return but I would lower my expectations some.

 

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