Bistrou 2100: A Post Mortem

Like other satellite communities around Edmonton, Sherwood Park is overloaded with fast food chains and quasi-Chinese buffet joints. Finding quality food is always a challenge here. When it became public that Chef Paul Campbell was shutting the doors of Sherwood Park’s Cafe de Ville and heading a new eatery called Bistrou 2100, my feelings were mixed; we’d be losing one of the few independent, favourable restaurants but gaining something new.

Bistrou 2100 took over the Mr. Mike’s Steakhouse space sandwiched between the hotel (now a Holiday Inn) and the sports complex, Millennium Place. The fine print revealed that the bistro, sorry, “Bistrou”, was also owned by Holiday Inn.

Cue, dread.

The name Bistrou is spelled with what appears to be a “u” , but is actually an upside down Omega: Ω. We were told it is used that way to indicate the phonetic spelling of bistro. Confused? Me too.

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There is nothing Greek about the menu, the space, the owner (Holiday Inn), the chef, or the location – unless in some weird, convoluted way, they are trying to tie in to the fact that it is located next-door to Millennium Place – as in Latin for mille.

You shouldn’t have to go through this much work to understand a restaurant’s concept, or name. Don’t bother trying to find out any information on the internet because they – horror of horrors –  are guilty of websiteum in absentia (Latin for “no website”).

So, you have to drive to 2100 Premier Way and test the murky waters yourself. Or, at least you could have a few weeks ago. We went last night and found the restaurant side closed, but the lounge open.  Chef Paul Campbell and most of the staff? Gone. Seems there was a “misunderstanding” according to the server whose eyes lit up at our arrival, relief flooding her face at the prospect of customers.  The place felt like a mausoleum – a grimy one with sticky tables, worn and patched chairs. Two men nursing their beers were the only other patrons.

We were told the menu has been “pared down”. What remained was the lunch menu, more or less. We got up and left, leaving the server to sigh and resume her place on a stool at the bar.

What the hell happened here? Was this the same place I ate at on two occasions a mere month ago? Albeit I dined on the (somewhat) aesthetically prettier restaurant side, not this lounge section, but the food I had was actually very good – at least it was for supper; lunch was a markedly different experience.

There’s no sense in including the pictures that I took of the food. What’s gone is gone.

I really had my hopes up that Paul Campbell would do wonders at Bistrou 2100 but it appears he was the David to a corporate Goliath. Sad – because the man can cook.

Consider this post a post mortem on Bistrou 2100. My CBC audio can be found here.

 

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