After being closed for seven months, the bakery's owners have opened a new venture, Hello Bistro. Located in the same rambling farm house overlooking Livingston Manor, the restaurant is open for dinner on Friday and Saturdays and for brunch on Sundays.
We were eager to try this new restaurant. The former bakery was superb and there is a dearth of fine dining establishments in Sullivan County. The interior of the restaurant is soothing, with walls in muted shades.Tthe windows are bare, providing an attractive vista with the downside of being blinded by the sun. We had an early reservation and there were only two other tables when we arrived. While we were seated promptly, it was in uncomfortably close proximity to one of the other tables. This would prove to be a problem as the night wore on as other patrons were seated right next to us despite the availability of other open tables. There was little space between us and the waitresses had to squeeze between us to serve the other tables. This contributed to a cramped, claustrophobic feel. The wooden chairs were not cushioned and uncomfortable and our table, while rustic was wobbly. When a large party came in, the noise was deafening.
But good food can excuse much. Our experiences were decidedly mixed. The wine list is small but adequate and we were pleased to see they offered prosecco by the glass. The short beer list of beer included some interesting choices.and they offer GUS (grown up soda) which is less sweet and has no preservatives. Unfortunately our designated driver is more of a JOLT cola person, so he wasn't impressed. One of us enjoyed the prosecco and I had an unexceptional malbec. (There is a bar set off from the dining room.)
The menu is sensibly small , We passed on the appetizers. The scallop entree was unavailable but they substituted a shrimp dish instead. Two of us enjoyed the skirt steak in red wine sauce. The meat was tender and perfectly cooked and the sauce was nicely nuanced. It came with al dente mixed vegetables and a pretty but tasteless potato puree Our portions were adequate. As good as it was, it was unfortunately barely lukewarm. One of our party ordered the salmon with lentils and pearl onions. He was sorely disappointed. The entree arrived in a small soup bowl. The salmon, which appeared poached was covered with frisee and floated over a tasteless broth of soggy lentils and insipid pearl onions. The salmon was a bit over done and bland and the portion was small and unsatisfying.
We were all looking forward to dessert and again, our results were mixed. I had the meringue with the rhubarb compote. to say it was exquisite is a glaring understatement. It defied expectations. The sweetness of the perfectly baked meringue provided the perfect foil for the tartness of the rhubarb. It was amazing in its sophisticated simplicity. One of us had the creme brulee. It was fairly average although we appreciated the fact that the brulee was still warm. The custard base was a tad eggy but not bad.The third of our party had the chocolate mousse parfait. Again he was not pleased. It lacked the light and airy texture of mousse and the portion was small. The coffee was superb and our waitress was pleasant and eager to please.
This bistro has much potential. The staff is friendly and accommodating and the owners did come out and greet the guests. The food that was good was very good while the food that was disappointing was still superior to much that is offered locally. They do have to work on seating as it is cramped and the overly close proximity to other diners is uncomfortable and intrusive. Although we were served no bread, we noticed that other tables were. Still the Hello Bistro offers a fine food oasis in the culinary desert of the Catskills and we look forward to dining there again.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.