Last week, Forked! blogged about Pure & Simple Bistro. She very much enjoyed her meal there, and honestly, I felt ashamed that we had not yet tried this new (I think it opened last October), non-chain restaurant just 2-3 minutes from our house. All my belly-aching about Robinson being the land of chains (except for Bocktown and Ya Fei) and here was this place I walked by every time we go see a movie at Cinemark Robinson and yet somehow, when we have the 'where should we go to eat' conversation, this place never seemed to get remembered, even though we stopped in and grabbed a menu last fall, even though we drive right by it every week when we go grocery shopping. All our talks about supporting local places and we had not yet tried this place! I mentioned Forked!'s positive review to SP, we checked out some reviews on Urbanspoon, and we decided that our Saturday date night dinner would be at Pure & Simple Bistro. So after a late afternoon showing of Captain America (it was a fun movie, and if you go, stay until the end of the credits!) we walked out of the theater, gasped in the inferno of summer, and quickly crossed the 20 feet to the restaurant. Inside it was cool and calm and relaxing. It was around 6:15 pm and we seated right away.We were seated next to the windows and had a nice view of the opposing wall, painted a soothing gray-blue sea color with a large butterfly and sailboat. There was no music and the restaurant was about half filled. Our server brought us a bottle of water and said she'd be right back with some ice since the water hadn't had much time to chill. We ordered iced teas, and soon enough, our iced teas and the glass of ice for the water arrived. The iced tea was freshly brewed and very tasty, not watered down like at some places (not necessarily intentionally watery, but watery because there's so much ice and the ice melts so quickly).After we ordered, a bowl of two dinner rolls and a plate of butter arrived. I'm not sure if it was on purpose or because the plate was just washed or because of this hot weather, but the butter plate was quite warm and the butter melting. That was OK with me - I like melted butter on my bread much more than smeared butter.
We both opted for the dinner side salad instead of daily vegetable (green beans) with our entrees.A mix of greens, baby carrots, and cucumber. The dressing was served on the side. We had balsamic dressing, which I think is the house dressing, but other dressings are available. Our appetizer quickly arrived as well:
Fried Green Tomatoes. No way could I pass up the chance for fried green tomatoes after falling in love with them on our honeymoon. These were yummy. Firm tomatoes, but not too firm. Tasty breading, not too much of it, not too greasy. There was goat cheese underneath the 4 tomato rounds and tomato marmalade on top of the fried rounds. Delicious.
SP of course wanted soup, which I still think is a little crazy in this weather! They were out of the soup of the day, but there was Chicken Noodle Soup, so he got a cup of that:He said it was very good, with lots of chicken and carrots and celery chunks. I liked that the noodle was penne. I like penne, it might be my favorite pasta shape.
For his entree, SP chose the Eggplant & Mushroom Napoleon: It's "crispy eggplant, roasted portabella, creamed goat cheese, and spicy tomato coulis." It tasted as good as it looked. I like that the eggplant is breaded, but it's not a heavy, all encompassing breading. The eggplant is still visible beneath the breading. The rounds were generously thick. The mushroom was in the center:He really enjoyed his meal, and I enjoyed the bites I tried!
Aside from my love of fried green tomatoes, our southern honeymoon left me with a love of shrimp & grits, so that's what I ordered:As described on the menu, it's "Tiger shrimp, Creole tomato sauce, & butter grits." Delicious. I asked ahead of time if the sauce was spicy, and after checking, our server said no, and she was correct. The shrimp were cooked perfectly, at least as I understand shrimp should be cooked. Just until opaque, I think, is the ideal, which means they are still juicy and soft-ish instead of over cooked shrimp which can be tough/rubbery & stringy. The grits were creamy and peppery - yum! And the sauce was tomato-y but also I swear I could taste some pepper even though I couldn't see it. SP enjoyed my meal, too. I gave him all my shrimp tails to get out the last bit of shrimp. I'm not good at getting that last bit out of the tail. In the privacy of my home, I pick it up with my hands and dig in, but when I am out in public I try to be lady-like and mindful of my manners so I always give SP my tails with that wee bit of shell since he can manage to get that last bit without making a mess on his hands and face (and sometimes shirt and tablecloth...).
I was feeling stuffed. Plus, steamy hot weather always decreases my appetite. But we just had to look at the dessert menu. SP peeked at it first and he said something like, 'Oh no I know what we're having.' One look and I started laughing. He was right. Me pass up beignets for dessert? Never.We shared these. Three fluffy fried pillows of dough with blueberries and a swirl of sauce.
Very tasty. We both could have used more beignets - not that we weren't full, we were, but because they were that tasty!
There's also a list of flavors of homemade ice cream which we would like to try, but I just can't pass up beignets. Forked! tried some of the ice creams: white cheddar, three chili, and lemon & ginger. Such interesting flavors! There's also flavors like good old chocolate and vanilla and I remember a wasabi ice cream flavor, too.
We would definitely go back to Pure & Simple Bistro. We enjoyed our meals. The service was friendly. The interior was relaxing and cool, a very nice contrast to the rest of Settlers Ridge, which somehow always seems so loud and bustling to me. Our meal of 2 iced teas, appetizer, 2 entrees, and dessert came to just under $60 after tax/before tip. I've seen some comments about the high price ($15-$22/entree) but it seems in line with what we paid at Gypsy Cafe and some other non-chain places. Pure & Simple is BYOB and we saw several patrons with wine/beer. I'm not sure you can enjoy a BYOB beverage at one of the outside tables because those tables aren't behind a fence but we are aren't sure about the rules in PA. Hopefully we'll remember to BYOB next time.
If you're in the Robinson area and looking for a relaxing, tasty meal, definitely give Pure & Simple Bistro a try.