313 Fairfield Avenue
Steve and I decided to get our walk on early one morning and ended up in the pleasant little Ohio River city of Bellevue. The city gets somewhat overshadowed by next door neighbor Newport, which is a shame because the funky little town has a lot going for it. There is an excellent (and affordably priced) day spa on the main drag, some groovy boutique shops and antique stores, a tea house, a homemade candy shop, a cake/cupcake shop, a Birkenstock-wearing veterinarian (hi Dr. Middleton!) and a nice selection of independent restaurants.
By the time we'd walked from our East Row home to Fairfield Avenue we'd worked up an appetite, and decided to visit the Bellevue Bistro for some breakfast. What we didn't realize until we were seated was that they only offer breakfast on weekends, and we were there mid-week. Oh well, not to worry - we decided that 10 a.m. wasn't too early to have lunch.
There is always something unique to look at in the sunny dining room, thanks to the talents of local photographers and artists. Artwork changes monthly and is reasonably priced. It is also fun to hunt for the Millennium Falcons that dot the cheery space - don't forget to check the ceiling fan!
The bistro lists several vegetarian sandwiches on their lunch menu. They include:
1.The Bistro Grill - fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and tomatoes grilled with house vinaigrette on ciabatta ($6.50)
2. Veggie Wrap - cheese, grilled vegetables, black beans and brown rice wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla, grilled and served with a sweet chili sauce and sour cream ($7.95)
3. Portobello Sandwich - red onions, fresh mozzarella, and red bell pepper, grilled with house vinaigrette on ciabatta ($7.25)
4. Veggie Burger - grilled and served with boursin cheese, tomato and sprouts on whole wheat ($6.95)
I opted for the veggie wrap and it was very tasty indeed. While there we discovered that they offer dinner service four nights per week (Wed-Sat) and so we stopped back a few weeks later to give it a try.
Both of the vegetarian options on the dinner menu feature pasta: vegetable lasagna and Tuscan pasta. On the evening we visited my dinner decision was made for me because they were out of the lasagna. The menu doesn't give a clue to what ingredients are in each selection, and side dishes are not listed with the entrees. When we asked, our server had to go back to the kitchen to find out. At the time we thought it wasn't a very good sign that our waitress couldn't answer a simple question, but in retrospect, it's entirely possible that the kitchen was playing it by ear with whatever they had on hand.
I say this because even after Steve was given a choice of potato - he chose mashed - his order arrived with roasted potatoes and apologies. I was told that the pasta came with a delicate wine sauce but moments before the pasta arrived the server came rushing over to inform me that the kitchen had opted for marinara instead. When the dish arrived it appeared that the sauce had been omitted altogether. Whew, talk about dry! It was also served on a steak fajita plate instead of a bowl or dish, which made for curious and careful eating, as various bits kept falling over the shallow sides and onto the table.
The dish wasn't a complete waste however, because roasting intensifies the flavor and sweetness of root vegetables, and these could have easily stood alone. It's a shame they didn't. The shells simply cluttered it up.
Aside from the potato error, Steve had better luck with his pork fillet, which he found delightfully sweet due to the addition of roasted apples. The cut was a little more fatty than he would have liked, but overall not too bad.
No meal is complete without dessert, and according to our server theirs are house made. We were told that the blackberry cobbler is a family recipe, so we decided to give it a try. It was a little doughier than I like, but the balance of tart and sweet was right on the money.
While our meals were a little bit hit or miss, our experience was completely marred by the unprofessional behavior of two members of staff, who stood at the counter and really slagged off another co-worker with a peppering of expletives that could make a sailor blush. C'mon people, save the drama for the break room!