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“OMG.” Front Street Bistro Rocks.

Posted by whforums on July 13, 2008

We hit the new Front Street Bistro (formerly Front Street Sweets – the owners expanded by moving into the old Sit-n-Knit location on Lasalle Road) for lunch recently. When we arrived (mid to late afternoon) the outside seating at the restaurant was packed with people having a late lunch or enjoying dessert. Despite the beautiful weather we decided to have lunch indoors, and the interior of the restaurant, with its deep red walls, black molding, funky accent lighting and casually elegant table linen created a comfortable and intimate atmosphere. While so many restaurants try so hard to be “trendy” with their interior design, Front Street Bistro just is what it is — simple, beautiful and classically contemporary.

When the look of a restaurant is so careful and complete, you expect the same attention to detail in the food, and Front Street Bistro didn’t let us down. The corned beef on a pretzel roll (I’d never had a pretzel roll, and it tastes just like a pretzel in roll form … pretty great compliment to the beef) was salty but not overpowering and the slaw that topped the beef added just enough crunch to make three deliciously distinct textures (roll, slaw, beef) with each bite. The lightly herbed oven fries, fresh and oven hot, were a wonderful combination of crisp and firm. My wife raved about her West Hartford Dog (with mustard, pickles and all kinds of other goodies), and it was good enough to rival Woody’s or Rosco’s (though I wouldn’t complain if either of those eateries decided to open shop in West Hartford Center, too). The mint-ginger lemonade was also excellent; it was subtle and just puckery enough to keep you sipping (read: you should go just for the lemonade – it’ll give you a taste of what you’re missing).

Most of the lunch dishes ran between 10 and 15 dollars, which is a pretty good value when you consider the quality of the meal, décor and service. Front Street Bistro also fills a niche in the Center; it provides high quality food in a chilled out atmosphere at a reasonable price (in context). This is especially welcome in an area full of equally wonderful – but generally more expensive (and thus more exclusive)– restaurants.

I wasn’t able to get a look at their dinner menu, but this reviewer raves by association about the Mac and Cheese. The Bistro is also open for breakfast (another niche market for a West Hartford Center restaurant) and Sunday Brunch. You can visit their website, which isn’t yet updated to reflect their new digs and identity, at:

Linky.

In short – we loved the restaurant, and we’ll go back to try their dinner menu soon. But let me register one complaint – why serve Seattle’s Best coffee, especially when Starbucks (the same company) is right next door? Once Front Street Bistro starts working with of a good local roaster – like Omar Coffees (who I love) or Independent Coffee Roasters, they’ll leave me with nothing to complain about.

photo credit
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7 Responses to ““OMG.” Front Street Bistro Rocks.”

  1. I still love the scones.

  2. Amanda said

    The lady who owns this place is a nut case. I had ordered some cupcakes a while back. She told me one price and then charged me another. Then argued with me over the phone. If she wants to succeed i suggest she works on her people skills

  3. Frank said

    Scones are 2-3 days old and were frequently covered in fruit flies during the warmer months, yet people seem to be oblivious to this. My coworker insists on going in here for coffee because it’s close and she hates Starbucks, but I can’t stand even walking into this place.

    edited to remove personal attacks

  4. Amanda said

    You know whats funny I used to love their scones when Chef Tracey was the pastry chef there. I would come in every morning and buy a nice hot iced cinnimon scone. I never had any fruit flies in mine and they were always delicious. But one time I stopped by starbucks and grabbed a coffe and then went into front street sweets for a scone and the owner yelled at me for buying my coffee elsewhere and pretty much chased me out with a broom. That should have been my indication not to buy cupcakes from there, live and learn. I will never forget the cupcakes it ruined my special day.

  5. Norma said

    I have been a loyal customer at Front Street Bistro for years now. I recently found that there was a fruit fly issue in the restaurant. I was told by the owner that a pipe in the basement of the building backed up and caused major damage to businesses in that building. I was also told by the owner that the health department was notified by the building owner and that the problem was being taken care of.

    Since then, I have been back numerous times and there has not been a fruit fly in sight. I love the food there and glad that the problem has been fixed. Its a great place to get a coffee, muffin or scone in the morning.

  6. wehagirl said

    Front Street? $7.00 for a chicken panino, their signature sandwich, that looks more like something you would get at a prison cafeteria. The Owner/Manager is about as rude as they come. Don’t waste your time

  7. ScottALarkin said

    This place is a joke. I have lived in West Hartford Center for over 12 years. I have seen many places come and go. I have not run into a more disturbing, poorly run, under staffed, over priced restaurant/cafe/bakery whatever they are in all my years. When they first opened in 06 my wife and I used to be regulars. We are all for supporting local non-chain restaurants. They had a real good thing for about the first year. Then im not sure what happened, we kept seeing new chefs and staff every other week. We could feel the tension in the air between the owner and the staff. So we decided to give them some time. Now they expanded and their previous problems seem to be x10. We had dinner the meatloaf tasted horrible, the salmon was over cooked, the service was lacking ect. We told the owner on our way out she seemed to care less about our complaints. We will never return, please go back to the good old days.

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