Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dining By The Alphabet: B

Originally intended to be saved for a weekend or even next week, we decided to say what the hell and go out for dinner. I mean, it is National Margarita Day. Before choosing a restaurant we had to set some more rules for "Dining By The Alphabet". One, we are going to try our hardest to choose a local establishment. Something that can just be found in Wichita. Also we decided that words like "Cafe", "El", "The", "Los" do not count towards the restaurant name. So a place like THE Ohio State University, would just be Ohio State University.

We looked through the many suggestions we received from facebook, forums, e-mail (zero from this blog we are still awaiting our first comment......). Received lots of good ones. Checked out different restaurant websites, Urban Spoon, Yelp and decided to go a different route.

So allow me to bring you our option for Letter B. Drumroll please.....

Dang!
Bagetelle.....CLOSED!!!! Yep they close at 7 pm.

Actually this was going to be our nightcapper. Knock out two B's at once but by the time we arrived here a little after 8, they had already closed. So I proudly bring to you our real choice for letter B. Drumroll please again....

Bel Ami. Or the proper name: Cafe Bel Ami.
229 E William St # 101
Wichita, KS 67202-4019
(316) 267-3433
www.cafebelami.biz/ (menu is listed online)

Straight from the website:
For outstanding French Mediterranean cuisine, our long-established restaurant is a perennial favorite. The downtown location makes it convenient for a special meal after work or before a night out on the town. Our staff is both friendly and efficient, our food is well-crafted, and the surroundings are comfortable and inviting
Located downtown on William St right between Broadway and Market. Kind of an upscale looking establishment when you walk in. "Excuse me sir, do you have reservations." My response? "Ummm..... Wichita By E.B.com, you may have heard from me, please seat us soon." My real response? "Sorry we did not make reservations."

Step inside and there are only three sets of fellow eaters inside. Two groups of business people and one family. Not very busy tonight. We are seated rather quickly and the server comes with our waters. He welcomes us and offers us drinks. Tiffany orders a Covey Run White and I have myself a Ciroc Vodka Press. The server didn't know what that was so I explained to him how to make it. He did a pretty good job.

Now being a Mediterranean establishment of course we had to order some hummus. It came with soft pita bread. I like other places that give you pita chips and bread. Here's a pic, now you'll have to excuse the lighting, I didn't have a flash on and the place is super dark.

I wonder if Cafe Bel Ami saves money on not turning on ANY lights
The hummus was pretty good. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would order it to go. On a five scale, I'd say a four while Tiffany says 3.5 and ("Bella Luna's is so much better"). For the salads, they only offered two types. A Caesar salad and a Fattouch salad. Now I've had fattouch salad at Bella Luna. Did not like it whatsoever and haven't ever had it outside of that one time. But being a world renown food critic, I had to try it again.

A fattouch salad is not pronounced "Fat" and "Touch" Just saying...
I had my fattouch salad and finished it. Its definitely not my favorite item in the world but I kept an open mind and ate away. Just something about the dressing that I don't like. Just seems very oily to me. I won't knock them for it though. Its my own fault for ordering it. Tiffany on the other hand, loved her Caesar salad and "loved" is an understatement. Lets switch it up to the indention for a play by play of what happened:
(after the first bite, open eyes, smiles) I've had a lot of Caesar salads and i'm not gonna lie, this is the bomb.com (end scene)
That pretty much sums it all. Best Caesar salad in all of Wichita. I had some of it too and I have to say, I've had some fattouch salads in Wichita but if this was a UFC fight, Caesar would make Fattouch tap out.

Next time the main course. Tiffany had the Shrimp Ravioli (Stuffed Cheese Ravioli sauteed with shrimp, onions, leeks and mushrooms in a lobster cream sauce) and I tried the Grilled Tilapia (Served with creamy sun dried tomato sauce) The servings were HUGE. Seriously Andre The Giant would have had a problem eating both of these meals.

Did you bring an extra stomach to put the food in?
Seriously the pictures don't really show how big everything was. Imagine the size of my ego.....yeah that's how big it was. The pieces of ravioli was ginormous as were the shrimp. The tilapia was good size too. Each bite was seriously mouth watering. Don't tell Tiffany but i'm pretty sure I saw drool fall from her mouth after her first bite of ravioli.

For dessert, we had planned to go to Bagetelle so we passed on dessert. Originally I wanted to order the baklava since I never had one. Tell me readers, I think its pronounced "bock-lava". She says its "bock-luv-a". I'm pretty sure she's wrong. 

The service was good. Our server may have spoke a little much but he was very polite calling Tiff "madam" and myself "governor". Kind of awkward for a little bit. I've never been called "governor" before so it was interesting. He also knew the menu inside and out. Every question we had, he gave the right answer for it. This is a place i've never heard of. Tiffany actually came up with the place and we looked it up and decided what the hey. Has the looks of a "hole in the wall" from the outside but inside its an old dimly lit fancy restaurant. Do not go here in nike shorts and a Shocker shirt. Most people were well dressed.

Dinner here runs a little more on the high side. Drinks, apps, salads and entrees ran a little over $75. Definitely not a place i'm going to frequent all the time but something I'd really recommend and consider going to again.

On our super scientific scale: 4.25 stars
That's a four from the lady and a 4.5 from myself. She docked it a little for the price of the meal. I just wish the ambiance was a little better. Way too dark. Felt like I was getting ready to participate in a Murder Mystery Dinner Party.

So there you have it folks Bel Ami. That knocks B off our list and we now look forward to see "C" has to offer. Let the suggestions begin.

P.S. - Crap we forgot to order Margaritas on National Margarita Day!!!

Cafe Bel Ami on Urbanspoon

13 comments:

Punky said...

Love this site! Gives ne something to look forward to soon. Also helps me to know where not to go! Great blog. Keep it up.

Shelley said...

Love Cafe Bel Ami! You missed out on their artichoke dip, which is amazing. Great choice and I look forward to C.

Gogo Godinez said...

Top notch place. Keep it up Eddie B! And yes, it's pronounced bock-luv-a.

Lindsey said...

Good info. I like Bel Ami it is right across from the State building so I have ordered take out salads often. Keep it up :)

Anonymous said...

Been to this place before, not the absolute best, a little pricey, but the food is all around pretty good. This is an excellent place for a special occasion, perhaps a prom night, anniversay, or just trying to impress someone special.......And for the record Fattouch does belong in the same arena as Caesar.

Ricky said...

Whats next for letter C??? Do you get bonus points, like in Scategories for a double letter. I vote for Churches Chicken

Jessie said...

Love Cafe Bel Ami! Can't wait for the next blog!

Nicole said...

Cafe Bel Ami is one of my faves.

Jessica Galloway said...

You're both half way there... Bak-la-va (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/baklava)

Anonymous said...

in their defense, fattoush is a lebanese salad and the chef is lebanese so im sure if an american didn't enjoy it its no biggie! Lebanese cuisine have a distinct taste that only a true lebanese enjoys. . .

You criticized the prices but you did not take in consideration what your paying for. NOT only where the meals HUGE as you said, but didn't you notice the atmosphere, the linen, the fresh flowers on tables, the service standards and the TIME you spent sitting there.

Rating restaurants is not just about "blabbering" consider your words closely if you want to be taken seriously. everyone can blabber, but not everyone can write a decent PROFESSIONAL review. :)

EB said...

Appreciate your comments "anonymous". We don't intend to be professional by any means. This is all just a hobby. Reviews written by just regular people.

But you (I'm guessing a representative of Cafe Bel Ami) received quite a good review on our rating system. We always take everything into consideration from ambiance, price, quality of food, service, everything.

What you define as blabbering is just our regular, not professional opinion. An opinion is something not everybody entirely agrees upon. Regardless, thank you for your thoughts. We always take everything into consideration.

David said...

anonymous, if I wanted fresh flowers I would have went to Tillies.

Anonymous said...

The hummos looks like only a spoon full.