Restaurant Review: Quarter Bistro and Tavern

What and Where:

The Quarter Bistro and Tavern (pseudo New Orleans food, I guess) | 300 S Maple Rd, Ann Arbor, MI | (734) 929-9200

Ratings (1=terrible, 5=mind-blowingly great)

  • Tastiness: 2
  • Service: 2
  • Price (1=super cheap, 5=super expensive): 4
  • Value: 1
  • General vibe: 2
  • Comments (as of 1/7/06)

    • Before I got done with the reviews for the day, I wanted to include a review of at least one “bad” restaurant– or at least a place we didn’t like. We went to The Quarter Bistro and Tavern (or, as they tried to cutely say on the menu and such, “The Q”) a couple months ago, shortly after it opened, so it might have gotten better. But I don’t plan on going back anytime soon.
    • The food wasn’t “terrible” really, but it just was not that good and it was clearly over-priced. To me, it kind of seemed like what a midwesterner might imagine food in New Orleans to taste like, only said midwesterner had never actually been to N.O. and not even watched one of Emeril’s cooking shows.
    • Okay, the place had just opened and they were still trying to sort stuff out. But even with all that, I thought the service was stinky.
    • It’s in a big barn of a place– it used to be a Mexican restaurant we kind of liked okay– and I think they are trying to make it a place that is both “a tavern” and a place for fine food. They haven’t gotten there for either one.
    • If it’s still in business this time next year, it means they will have gotten their shit together and so it might be worth checking out again. Until then, go someplace else.
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    17 Responses to Restaurant Review: Quarter Bistro and Tavern

    1. Bill Tozier says:

      That saves us a trip!

      Last night’s [nearly] verbatim conversation: “Should we go to that new place over on Maple, or back the same damned place we always go for beer and good food?” “Umm, same damned place?” “OK, then.”

      [Grizzly Peak]

      I confess I’m still mad at the loss of Rio Bravo. It was good.

    2. Steve says:

      I do like Grizzly Peak quite a bit, though when they recently changed their menu, they took off the vegitarian burger that my wife used to get all the time, so while I’ll eat lunch down there when I’m in that part of town, we haven’t been in there for dinner in quite a while.

    3. Andre says:

      Being in business in a year doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve gotten their shit together. It could just mean they’ve fooled people for a year.

    4. Fumar says:

      I can’t comment on the early days of the Bistro but we visited about 2 weeks ago and had an entirely wonderful experience as far as dining goes. We visited again about a week ago and had a similarly splendid experience. The house salad was simply one of the best salads we’ve ever had and the staff appeared very experienced, accommodating and timely.

      The place appears to be popular most evenings but weekends are particularly harsh for walk-ins (1.5 hr wait). The level of patronage may be a testament to their effort in “working things out” or perhaps the day that you visited and had a poor experience was the exception and not the rule.

      The only downside could be the amount of ambient noise often times making it a real strain for normal conversation within your party.

      Here’s how I would rate it:

      Tastiness: 4 (salad is 5 or off the chart)
      Service: 3-5 (depends on the wait staff)
      Price (1=super cheap, 5=super expensive): 4
      Value: 4
      General vibe: 3 (the sports bar TV’s make it seem like an Applebees and the choice of music is peculiar)

    5. Bill says:

      I’ve been there twice, and had good meals each time. The ribs are so good I got them both time. I liked the decor, and the service.

    6. Ron says:

      I have eaten there about six times for lunch and dinner. Food is excellent(PS: I lived in New Orleans for four years in the quarter) Service gets ouchy on week ends after 7 pm. They get really busy and do not take reservations. If they took reservations I would eat there more often.
      Tastiness 4
      service 3-5 agree with timing
      price 4
      value 4
      True New Orleans style food. Not Nola’s but then who is in A2

    7. Elrushbo says:

      Man are you people way off! I had the ribeye at Quarter Bistro, it was spectacular, by far the best steak I have ever had in the A2 area, far superior to Outback, even better than the Chop House. In fact, it was very close to the steak at Bellagio’s Prime! Flawlessly prepared medium rare and w/ a nice char crust. Maybe other items are not so hot, but the steak was incredible! Lamb chops also similarly excellent there.

    8. JohnH says:

      We’ve been to ‘the Q’ several times since it opened, for both lunch and dinner. ALWAYS had good food and good service. It’s not great value for money – although better than Zingerman’s, which is next door – and is a huge improvement over Rio Bravo, which went downhill rapidly after opening. It’s also, IMHO, superior to The Grizzly Peak. (Am I the only person in A2 who’s never had a good meal at the GP?)

    9. Titus says:

      I’ve been there a number of times. While it can be expensive, I have never had a long wait. I ate there last night with my family. The check for 4 people was $100 with drinks and tip. That comes down to about $16 per meal, plus a $4-5 drink, and a $4 tip. That’s comparable to anyplace in Ann Arbor, and as we know, Ann Arbor has a lot of great places to eat. I’ve also been to New Orleans, and the comments about the food not being comparable must have just been chalked up to the night you went or something. Their chicken atchafalaya, bbq ribs, and crawfish ettoufee (sic) are all spectacular.

      They have a decent wine, beer, and mixed drink selections, and as my mother in law commented, she’s never had a stiffer drink. She’s a scotch on the rocks gal. That maybe makes no difference to many, but I’ve heard it from others that they are generous in portions (yeah, the food portions are more than a person *should* eat), but you won’t get argument from me that the value of the meal should be worth the price.

      So, my feeling is that you should go there and decide for yourself whether it’s “worth it” to you. If you don’t care for it, there are plenty more restaurants in AA to go to. I like it.

      titus

    10. jeff ruby says:

      the manager adam looks like a 13year old girl.
      he came up and hit on my daughter,i will
      never eat there again. as we left the servers
      were {puffin the peace pipe in back)

    11. MaryM says:

      After hearing all the buzz about the Quarter and seeking a Roadhouse-alternative, we gave it a try. It was dreadful. I do not know how they can pass this off as New Orleans cuisine, but I have one bit of advice: a proper etouffee is primarily a roux-based sauce, meat/shrimp/crawfish, and is served over white fluffy rice. It is not an Alfredo sauce with a bit of cajun spice, chunks of vegetables and a visit by some kind of protein served over rice that had been sitting.

      Our waiter didn’t know the specials, which I had seen on a sheet at the front desk; wouldn’t stop chatting and never asked us if we wanted coffee, which we would have liked to go with dessert.

      I would say go for drinks, or have a Greek specialty (the menu seems to have a lot of them) but do not in any way shape or form take this as a substitute for the real thing.

    12. eatdrinkbemerry says:

      jeff ruby’s comment doesn’t even deserve a response.
      To MaryM……Even though the Cajun items are not entirely authentic I found them to be delicious entrees which I will defiantly return to have. The cuisine of this restaurant is not supposed to be solely Cajun Creole. The theme is European Bistro with Cajun Creole flare. This allows a large menu with many varied items. Everything I have tried at the Q has been worth going back for and it is very nice to have a several options for vegetarians or those who do not prefer the Cajun/Creole palette. The food is always fresh and they always have delightful and unique specials. A great addition to the west side of Ann Arbor.

    13. jeff says:

      The only thing authentic about Mary M is the fact that she is a prude. I am just as much a food and restaurant critic as she might consider herself, but the difference is that I would not just write off the restaurant as a complete failure upon first visit. Any such judgement is a bonified admission of ignorance. My visits to the Q have been enjoyable; the mixed drinks are extremely stiff and the wine list is extraordinary. Our waiter simply took the wine list and led me on a journey through my tastebuds. The “reserve” wine list, which only exists in the memory of the staff totals somewhere over 50 bottles (the printed list is around 150). The wine director there is superb, he finds highly allocated wines with small productions and tucks them away for tables like mine. I can appreciate that. I like restaurants that allows the customer to broaden their horizons instead of just ordering the typical kendall jackson, Far Niente, Caymus, Stags Leap, so on and so forth. And yes – this whole misconception that the Q is a strictly Cajun restaurant is false. It’s fusion – get with it. I’m sure Mary is just substituting her husband for the real thing.

    14. k440 says:

      HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn’t believe how amatuer the waiter was. He didn’t even show up at our table for a solid 15 minutes!!!!!! We ordered oyseters(which i must say were pretty decent) but they didn’t show up for a half hour!!!!! We actually had to remind our silly waiter! And then all the food came out at once. It was really bizzare.
      I had ordered the jambalaya which for $18.95 was a total waste. It looked like a big plate of rice-a-roni.

      Really dissapointed. Mediocre food and ghastly service- i really dont know how this place is still in business

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    16. Pam says:

      Just finished soup take-out (tomato basil) yummm! I’ve not gotten past the soups in the 4 times I’ve dined at the “Q”. Been happy every time.

    17. jim says:

      went there on a gift card. do not walk in (we waited 45 min) — get a reservation.

      our waitress was great — quick service, answered questions intelligently. the salad was excellent, the rest of the food decent to pretty good nothing spectacular. it was good enough that I’d try it again. The appetizers are pretty damn big, 2 or 3 of those would feed 2 people no problem

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