Tiny Bistro is a new café just off the beaten path in the midtown/westside part of town. It’s pretty well hidden given that it faces the intersection of 8th and Marietta St. In fact, it’s so easy to miss that Adam, a FB guest blogger , and I were pretty sure we were going to be the first people to mention this place. Well … we missed the ball on that one. Oh well, we quickly got over our bruised egos, grabbed @holtlyda .. and headed over for lunch.
Truth be told, given Tiny Bistro’s proximity to Adam and Holt’s office, they are already regulars here. For me, this was my first go round. As first impressions go, this ended up being a pretty positive experience.
Tiny B is a simple little joint. The dedicated dining room is simple yet eye popping. A pink “mural” of sorts adorns the wall. Meanwhile, a table or two in the main area plus two patio tables provide ample supplemental seating. A little baker’s corner is all that is needed to pump out the ten or so sandwiches, handful of sides, and few salad options. This corner is partitioned from the main area, at least in part, by a refrigerated case. This case holds a handful of alternative options … but more on that later. For now, let’s talk about the food we had a chance to try.
This bistro has one significant advantage over several of its culinary counterparts. While many independent sandwich shops around town are just that, Tiny Bistro is an offshoot of Figs & Honey Catering. While this does not make their food “untouchable,” it does allow the owners to source some products that other bistro’s of the same ilk are not likely to get.
This is most evident in the bread they utilize at TB. Apparently, they get their bread straight from a bakery in New Orleans. To preserve the bread, it is flash frozen before transit. Surprisingly, I found the bread maintained a reasonable amount of freshness. While this grain doesn’t do much to encourage the sustainable food movement, it’s not like they are getting it from Timbuktu.
As for the bread itself, TB claims to use pistolette rolls for their hot sandwiches and croissants for the cold grub. Though not a bread expert, I always thought pistolette was a type of “stuffed bread.” Nothing about this bread reminded me of pistolette. In this case, the grain is essentially a mix of a French baguette and other hearth breads. So I’m not sure if it really should be called pistolette.
Regardless of the etymology and classification, we found the flavor subtle enough that it did not add any unnecessary distraction to the sandwiches. I think it stalks up well against any of the gourmet breads put out by our local bakers. Of course, if it weren’t flash frozen, it would be better.
Though all of the hot sandwiches are available in a half-sized portion, each of us ordered a whole sandwich. Their hot sandwiches run approximately $8 (give or take a dollar at either end). Adam ordered the Turkey with brie cheese & fig preserves. I chose the Cuban and Holt went with the roasted beef. In addition, we all got a side ($2.00/pop). Members of the entourage went with broccoli salad, fresh fruit, and Mediterranean pasta salad respectively.
I thought my Cuban was a reasonably strong showing. My biggest complaint with the sandwich was the lukewarm temperature. Even so, I found the sandwich to be solid, though not outstanding. The menu lists the meat as a guava mojo pork loin. Given that description, I was expecting a more distinct flavor. Instead, it ultimately tasted like any other solid Cuban. I was expecting the sandwich to have a bit more of a kick and little stronger showing of guava. That aside, the meat was perfectly cooked … so I would have no problems ordering this sandwich again. The fruit provided was simple and straight forward, but fresh and tasty nonetheless. In case you’re wondering, the picture way up there at the top of the review is of the Cuban.
I grabbed a bite of Adam’s Turkey. It was very good, though I wasn’t knocked out by it. The creamy brie mixed well with the sweetness of the fig preserves to give this a hint of decadence. However, the portion control was spot on; and thus, that intense flavor was reserved. Ideal if you ask me. Adam seemed to like the broccoli salad … however … we all know my thoughts on that green menace (don’t we?)
Holt was a cotton-headed ninny-muggins, so I did not have a chance to try his sandwich. A roasted beef sandwich with sharp cheddar, horseradish mayo, and arugula pistou; it was visually the most appealing sandwich of the group. It was pretty obvious there were some melting issues going on; but Holt had no problem downing it and did so in short order.
Back inside, I took a closer look at the previously mentioned refrigerated case. As this is a catering company, they offer a solid number of freshly prepped “take home” entrées. These are marketed as take home dinners. Though Tiny Bistro stays open from 11am until 7pm, it appears most of the patrons do in fact consume dinner off premise.
So the sandwiches are certainly good enough that I can easily see myself eating here once every couple of weeks. Meanwhile, the dinner dishes seemed creative and appealing. I’ll be back to grab something one of these nights.
My biggest problem with Tiny Bistro was beyond negligible. There catering area can be clearly seen through a doorway just past that refrigerator case. A simple eye sore that can be remedied with the addition of something as simple as a hanging curtain. Certainly, it really isn’t worth even the time I have just given it.
In yet another string of tasty first meals, Tiny Bistro seems like a welcomed addition to the neighborhood. When you’re done here, you might as well walk across the street and check out the newly opened Hop City Beer. Provided you’re a fan of suds, you’ll find the selection of beverages to be quite impressive. I myself stick to wine and the hard stuff; but, I can still appreciate a good beer selection when I see one.