Sometimes a restaurant review is tastier than the experience.
Lyndsay C. Green of the Detroit Free Press delivers that in a sharp critique of The Statler French-American Bistro, which opened six months ago on Park Avenue downtown.
The Statler is a venue of contradiction. It self-describes as a bistro, an inherently modest and informal eatery. ... Yet it presents as a fine-dining establishment, one enveloped in an air of pretention. An average entrée is more than $40. ...
There’s an overwhelming sense that the place is playing a game of fine-dining dress-up, something like a toddler awkwardly finding her footing in a pair of her mother’s heels for the first time. ...
Though The Statler strives to provide an upscale experience in cuisine and ambience, it underdelivers in service. ... Your receipt says fine dining, but the service says otherwise.
Green, who joined the paper last November, serves praise where earned ("steak frites ... does not disappoint") while also wielding sharp words about some dishes:
A too-salty French onion soup is laced with ribbons of gelatinous onions reminiscent of the orange rinds in a marmalade and a bouillabaisse is nicely flavored, though teeming with slightly overcooked crustaceans. A side of rouille develops a film on the surface, likely from its time bathing in the light of a heat lamp.
She concludes with constructive optimism:
The Statler has the makings to be successful. There’s a Certified Master Chef in the kitchen, a title reserved for under 75 chefs in the country, and Joe Vicari Restaurant Group, the veteran hospitality group behind Andiamo and Joe Muer Seafood among others, is at the helm. ...
If the team aims to uphold its upscale feel and exorbitant menu prices, it would do well to elevate its service standards.