Charcuterie in Sierra Madre a couple of times over the years and found it to be quite enjoyable. I was never devoted to it like some people I know, but I certainly understood where their passion came from: it was above-average food in a very relaxed atmosphere.
The other day, while Elizabeth and I were contemplating what to do for lunch just after we'd gone by Taylor's Prime Meats, we drove by the space on Sierra Madre Blvd and noticed a new sign reading "Sierra Bistro." A banner advertising "Grand Opening" was also hanging. We dropped off our groceries, looked up the Sierra Bistro menu online, and decided to go there for lunch. The grey skies had started to give way to blue, and the idea of sitting outside, especially just under the mountains in Sierra Madre, was appealing.
It turns out the restaurant is owned by the same people as Charcuterie and the head chef used to be the sous chef at Charcuterie.
The waitress was great, very friendly and efficient. And the iced tea was good. Unfortunately, that's where the good news ends.
I was happy when I'd seen the fries were extra-skinny shoestrings. Those are always tasty. But these were room temperature. Barely warm.
"I'm surprised you're eating them," Elizabeth said after taking a few and trying them herself.
"I'm really hungry," I said, "or I would send them back."
(A few minutes after we received our food, a woman at the next table received hers and immediately said to the waitress: "These fries are cold.")
I understand it's easy for little things to escape a restaurant's attention. Fatty sandwich meat? It happens sometimes. Bland soup? Well, okay. But serving not-warm fries to two different tables... when there are only three tables occupied in the entire place? That just shows a complete lack of care.
If Sierra Bistro were a brand new restaurant, I might be willing to try it again. But the fact that it's the same owners as Charcuterie - and they kept some continuity with the chef - and yet they still turned out such lousy food, I am certain I will never return.