Thursday, July 12, 2007

'l Bistro to open on Monday

'l Bistro will open this coming Monday. The "Mediterranean eatery" will be the third and final restaurant to open in the new Canad Inns Destination Center hotel and water park complex north of the Alerus Center.

I've seen the interior of the restaurant and the place looks very nice. From what I have heard, 'l Bistro will have an upscale feel to it. I'm guessing this also means that it will have rather upscale prices. Aalto's and Tavern United (the other restaurants in the complex) are by no means the most affordable places to eat in town...especially Tavern United.

I had lunch at Tavern United last week and was a bit surprised by the prices. The food was good, but I couldn't help but notice that you could literally count the lunchtime customers on one hand. The English-style pub looks very busy on many evenings, but apparently has yet to catch on with the lunchtime crowd.

Overall, it appears as though business at the Canad complex has been very good since the recent opening. The parking lot is packed many nights. Perhaps that second hotel tower the company has talked about will become a reality after all.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I've been so underwhelmed by Tavern United, that I have high hopes for this new place.

Anonymous said...

I have not tried any of them yet...
high hopes!

Anonymous said...

Tavern United is ridiculously expensive. If I hadn't had already ordered my drink, I would have left without ordering dinner.

I had the Bangers and Mash and for two sausages and a glob of mashed, it was expensive. Soup is $8 for a bowl...granted it's twice the size of most places bowl, but that's triple the price of most restaurants. My wife had the beef stew and it's that stuff out of a can. I like the stuff, but I had the same amount of stew at the Emerald Grill for their $4.99 lunch special recently and the stuff at TU cost $10.

I won't eat there again for those prices. The food was not THAT good. And I have serious reservations about checking out Aaltos or the Bistro now too...

Another GF diner...

Reed said...

I don't mind paying, if the product matches the price...I'll pay $25 for abowl of soup...if it "is" a $25 bowl of soup...

Anonymous said...

I think most, if not all, hotel food sucks. I had the worst Thanksgiving meal ever at the Ramada a few years ago and a terrible breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn last summer. In general, I belileve travelers are more tolerant of situations like this because they generally expect to pay more for the convenience of dining where they're staying. Not an excuse, just an explanation.

Anonymous said...

I've been to tavern united a few times, all at night. My biggest complaint is they run the bar like it's in Canada...that is, if the drink special is $2 you-call-it, the final price will be $2.17 (tax). Order anything with redbull, you gotta pour the redbull. Also, just B.S.ing with the bartenders I found out management is quite stingy with freebies and excessive pours, to the point they weigh every bottle and keg at the end of the night.

I liked the service, atmosphere, and food there, but dang, until they stick to the advertised price like other bars and slash other prices, I can't afford to go back.

Anonymous said...

Had brunch at the Altos Cafe about a month ago. Seemed high priced-about $13 plus beverage as I recall. Many of the breakfast items seemed deep fried, which I can get at McDonalds. I know one can go back for more but really-how much can one eat of this kind of food?

dadingf said...

I liked Tavern United. I thought the atmosphere was unique, and there was actually some diversity on the menu rather than more of the same as we seem to have here in GF. If you don't want to pay too much for the soup then order the small size, which in any other restaurant would equal a bowl, also I thought the fries were excellent and their beer prices were very reasonable.

Anonymous said...

Their "small bowl" was $5. That's at least $2 more than most places for a bowl of soup...maybe even $3 for some places. The soup wasn't even that good...I've had better stuff out of a can.

Anonymous said...

Sorry guys, you won't catch me patronizing The Canad. Why? Virtually zero of the Alerus' campaign promises have been realized. Now, the commission president boasts about how well the catering operation is doing. And he's not talking regional convention business, he's talking direct competition with the local private sector. Now, The Canad is open, and three restaurants. A major convention center, a hotel, and 3 restaurants, all subsidized by our tax dollars and directly competing with local operators. That is just wrong.

Local businesses are still feeling the effects of the post-disaster economy, and our community leaders are kicking them when the're down.

It's a very sad situation how this has developed. It is so wrong, I couldn't live with my conscience spending money there.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette. You think hotel companies are just waiting in line to open a high-rise full-service hotel in Grand Forks?

Geez, people give this thing a chance. Remember how long it took to sign Canad Inns?

wendian said...

I'm all about supporting new restaurants, but the Tavern seriously disappoints. The three times I've been there, the food has been subpar (and the restaurant empty). I wouldn't mind paying higher prices if the food was worth it, but it's not.

I'll certainly give 'l Bistro a try, and am hoping the food and atmosphere will be worth the trip!

Anonymous said...

I got a chance to sample some L'Bistro food this week while working in the Canad. The "Decadent Chicken Pizza" was AMAZING. Supposedly, a large is $20, which is almost what you'd pay ordering a loaded pizza from a chain pizza place. There's a nine page menu for the restaurant, and the prices on the version I saw were mostly reasonable for what you're getting.

I also learned that we shouldn't hold our collective breath on the Monday opening. Their computer ordering system is misfiring and not sending orders to the kitchen. If it can't be resolved this weekend, they'll have to hold off on the opening.

Coffee Guy said...

I can't wait to try Mediterranean food served by people who can't (won't?) pronounce the word "Italian" properly.

::rollyeyes::

GrandForksGuy said...

A friend told me that l'Bistro was open on Saturday, but I told her I didn't really believe her...was it already open? I thought they probably weren't even going to be able to make the Monday opening, much less Saturday?

GrandForksGuy said...

Tavern United is ridiculously expensive. I ate their last week and the chicken sandwich and fries (aka chips) I ordered came to $11. Then there was the $2.75 iced tea. The bill for two people was over $30...that's way too much for a place that doesn't advertise itself as a fine dining atmosphere.

Hey...when is the Canad finally going to turn on all of their exterior signs? It took them weeks to get any signs and now it is taking them weeks to turn them on. Also, why no sign for the water park yet? Oh well...it doesn't seem like lack of proper signage is keeping anybody away...the whole Canad complex has been looking packed almost everyday.

BTW, I heard today that on some days Manitobans have been making up over 60% or 70% of the hotel's business...that's amazing.

JGS said...

You people need to realize you're eating in a $51 million dollar hotel. What do you expect, Mcdonald prices? It's common sense when you walk into a 4 star upscale hotel, you should expect upscale food prices. You walk into crappy Mcdonald's, you should expect lowscale food prices.

Coffee Guy said...

"4 star upscale hotel"

CanadInn is a 4 star hotel? Have you ever stayed in a truly nice hotel, such as the Omni Shoreham, The Mayflower, or a Ritz Carlton? Walking into the CanadInn feels like walking into a McDonalds compared to actual 4 star hotels.

river_man said...

"4 star upscale hotel"

I was just in the Canad Inn lobby the other day asking about employment. I must say it's pretty classy and upscale. Although I have never been in a 5 or 4 star hotel, Canad Inn doesn't fit in those categories. I would give it a three and a half star at best. But there is no such thing as a half star. It's better than a 3 star but less than a 4 star, and probably a little better than Hilton Garden Inn.

Anonymous said...

Of course it seems upscale, it's in the town of Grand Forks where there is nothing to compare it to. In a real city, with real 4-star hotels, it wouldn't even be average.

dale said...

CanadInn is a 4 star hotel? Have you ever stayed in a truly nice hotel, such as the Omni Shoreham, The Mayflower, or a Ritz Carlton?

According to the most recent ratings that I've seen, none of those would be a four star, either. It's now up to six stars, with six being held out for ridiculous $5,000 a night places, and places that you cite falling into the five star category.

Within THAT system, the Canad would probably be a four star, as it has amenities that elevate it above three stars like Holiday Inn. One star -- non chains flophouses (don't laugh, I stayed in one in Jackson Wy last summer -- the only place left in town and it was $150 a night for a pit. Literally, it was in a basement); two stars -- lower end chains that have a pool and not much else; three stars -- chains with an in-house restaurant; four -- higher quality mid range hotels with extended amenities; five - luxury chains; six - ultra luxury

Walking into the CanadInn feels like walking into a McDonalds compared to actual 4 star hotels.

I'll just say "ouch" for the CanadInn.

Coffee Guy said...

You're right, dale. I didn't mean to imply that those hotels were the top of the line. The previous poster referred to the CanadInn as a "4 star upscale hotel," implying that it was really something special. Maybe I read the comment the wrong way. I was just comparing it to very nice hotels that I'm pretty familiar with, ones that I know to be head and shoulders above the CanadInn. (I'll be staying at the Omni for a week next month...YAY!) I should have split that paragraph with a break to clarify.

I just checked the Mobil Guide, and they go up to 5 stars. The ones I mentioned are 3, and still head and shoulders above the CanadInn.

I'm glad we have the CanadInn, but to think that "it's upscale, so expect upscale prices" is a bit silly. The fact that there is a water park in the lobby only serves to cheapen the atmosphere, IMO.

The other nice hotel in town, the Hilton Garden Inn, is one of the less impressive HGIs that I've seen. And the food there is atrocious.

dale said...

I just checked the Mobil Guide, and they go up to 5 stars. The ones I mentioned are 3, and still head and shoulders above the CanadInn.

Those ratings scales drive me nuts, but I kinda like the six star one that includes dives at the bottom and uber-luxury at the top. It makes the middle a little fat, but, to be honest with you, once you're beyond the Holiday Inn / Days Inn kind of place, it's all a bit of a wash until you get to Fairmont or Four Seasons territory. To me, anyway. I'd stay in the CanadInn as readily as I'd stay in a Marriott, although that's based solely on having walked in the Canad once to eat at the pub.

The other nice hotel in town, the Hilton Garden Inn, is one of the less impressive HGIs that I've seen. And the food there is atrocious.

The one time I went in there, we sat at the table for about ten minutes without anyone coming around with menus, so we left. Maybe that was a good thing.

Anonymous said...

sometimes I think people would complain if their ice cream was too cold. Here is a company that put $51 million into GF, in hopes of making a go of a really unique (for ND) hotel complex, and people complain about it. Let's put it this way - there is nothing else like the Canad in North Dakota. I have eaten at the Tavern United three times, and have paid between 10-15 dollars every time...and felt it was well worth it. It is a very nice atmosphere with good service.

ec99 said...

Four-star and above hotels (is the Canadinn even a hotel?) have career hospitality professionals working for them across the board, not people there to make some bucks while they work on a degree or are between jobs. From the desk people, to the concierges, to the maitre'd, to the chefs, to the bell hops. That is one aspect that distinguishes them from what GF has to offer.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anon Homer Dude,

In fact...a hotel can have rating points deducted for serving ice cream too cold.

Try again.

jr said...

Getting back to 'l bistro, what does the 'l stand for? Because it doesn't exist. There's l' in French and Italian, but only if the next word begins with a vowel. Is this some attempt to sound sophisticated and continental? If so, they fell on their face. It's like the old hotdog franchise called Der Wienerschnitzel. First it should be Das, and a Wienerschnitzel isn't a hotdog

ben said...

Good God people...did you expect the Waldorf Astoria or something??
Lets get real here - GF is a small to mid-size market, and cannot support something like what you people obviously expected. The Canad is much nicer and more put together as a destination than anywhere else in the state, espectially during any Alerus event. The place has been packed full of people from out of town, and it also appears that other hotels have been as well. I don't think that Canad has been pushing themselves as some sort of very upscale place. But then again, is there really anyplace in GF that is a nicer place to go hang out without having to pay for Sander's??
I am not trying to be a "homer" as someone else got accused of being, but lets get real here, people...

Anonymous said...

Did you just say that *because* The 'Nad is now open, other hotels are full too?

Coffee Guy said...

"Did you just say that *because* The 'Nad is now open, other hotels are full too?"

"The Nad" is my new favorite nickname.

GrandForksGuy said...

So did the restaurant open today?

ben said...

no - I didn't say because...I just don't feel that the Canad is taking away all of the business from other hotels.

Lynsey said...

Yes, the bistro did open on Monday. It was AMAZING. My boyfriend and I each got an individual size pizza and shared them. Though $9 seems like a lot for an individual size pizza, it was so worth the price, and we both had to bring a couple pieces of pizza home with us. We had the Decadent Chicken and the Sweet and Sour Chicken pizzas. I'm definitely going to be back again...and again and again.

Anonymous said...

So, you paid 18 bucks for two individual pizzas, with a couple of slices to take home. I guess "worth the price" is in the eye of the beholder. Given what's been said about the Tavern, and now your report, I think I'll forego eating at the Canadinn in favor of filling my gas tank.

dale said...

My daughter and I ate at Rhombus Guys on Friday night and the Chicken Alfredo pizza was about $18, with a few pieces left to take home. Eighteen bucks seems about par for a non-cardboard type pizza (not counting Papa Murphy's, which is pretty good, and a lot cheaper, but you have to cook it yourself.)

Anonymous said...

The bistro and tavern are both great places to eat. Yes of course the prices are a bit higher but it is a hotel and they are trying to make money. I found out that for the pizza the crust is made in house and the server said they had taste tests for a couple weeks within the hotel to try and perfect it. I ate there and would have to say that I will be going back many times and can see the bistro being a date restaurant. The four star Canad is doing a great job of setting the standard for hotels in the area I could defiantly see some of the lesser known ones going out of business. Also since there main source of business is from manitoba it will help out the economy since the canadian dollar is trading so close to the US dollar

Anonymous said...

I ate at the Tavern United last Friday for lunch. I had the special. It wasn't very high priced for how much there was and it was ready in about 10 minutes which gave me plenty of time to enjoy the meal and make it back to work with the 1/2 hour lunch break I am given. I plan on going back agian for the simple fact that the food was good and it came out in a very short amount of time.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with somebody's statement that 'L Bistro is expensive. I am actually quite surprised of how classy and affordable at the same time the place was. I had an appetizer split with a friend, wine, main dish, coffee and dessert split with a friend, and my bill was less than $30. Service is great, friendly, but not too pushy, menu is fantastic, and atmosphere is almost upscale and classy. The only complaint I have is to the customers - sweats are probably not the best outfit for a dinner out here, unless, of course, you come from GF.

Anonymous said...

We just recently tried 'l Bistro. Upon entering the place looked nice and well kept. We were soon to be disappointed. Keep in mind, there was hardly any business at this time of day.

After a 15 minute wait our server finally stopped by our table. She walked past multiple times, and was cleaning the table behind us before she finally stopped. She didn't introduce herself at all, which I found very unprofessional so I don't even know her name! She quickly took our drink order. After another 20 minutes we finally got our Sprite. She took our food order and had to run to get my Italian Cream Soda. The Sprite was severely over charged. I could have bought 2 20 ounce bottles for that small glass. And we were never offered refills.

My Italian Soda was horrible. It tasted purely of club soda. I hardly had any orange taste to it at all.

My drink came 3 minutes before our food. The food was okay. We expected more for our money. We understand that it's a specialty hotel restaurant but I think we will be sticking to the American Grill at Hilton. Their food is better priced and you get way more better quality.

The breadsticks were hard. My chicken strips were okay, but for $8 bucks I expected way more than 5. My fiance's pasta was undercooked, but otherwise he says it was decent.

It was and hour and a half and $30 well wasted.

Anonymous said...

I have eaten at the 'l Bistro twice now and I have been impressed both times. The service was very good and I love the atmosphere! The portions are large (both times I split a pasta dish with a friend and was stuffed) and the prices normal for that type of restaurant. Just a tip for those of you that don't like the prices.. they have different specials every evening, (might be during the day too...not sure), and when I was there on a Tuesday it was get a full size pasta dish for the price of a half size!