Wunderbar Bistro – September 2018 (dt
6.46 – 7, 6.8, 6.75, 6.7, 6, 6, 6
The Teator car reconnoitered the roundabout construction on the RVW Bridge’s east end, trying not to lose the Monteverd car in Hudson, before settling somewhat close to Wunderbar.
The Wunderbar Bistro, self-labeling with “A Cozy Atmosphere and Comfort Food at Affordable Prices” tag, presented a medium length menu with a wide enough spread, artfully concocted, to interest diners.
Our choices for the evening reflected some of that:
All thought food was excellent to very good, with one note otherwise.
Throw in a bunch of burger variations and a few more artsy choices, and Wunderbar has come a long way from the stodgy reputation it might have once proffered.
Salads were not generally included with entrées so an order of four salads comprised most of the appetizer round. In addition to the House Salad/Caesar Salad, a Wunderbar Salad (Mesclun greens, green apples, Tierra Farms dried fruit & nuts, balsamic vinaigrette) was available.
Completing the appetizer course, the Notars ordered the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, deeming it excellent.
Ambiance reflects a vibrant Hudson. (I was going to say an up-and-coming Hudson, but Hudson is there.) A 60’x25’ space is visually divided by a narrow row of tables against the wall, a wider row in the middle, and a bar along the other wall. Dark-wood floors and ceilings shorten the vertical space. Wainscoting of four-inch horizontal boards of varying shades of finish, topped by beige-mustard paint, adds to the room’s vibrancy. (Later, Ken & I found the 30 foot corridor that led to a 30’x25’ room at the rear.)
Lighting was provided by two rows of ten-inch glass egg-bowls suspended from three-foot chains. However, our table was lit by an overhead spotlight that illuminated our five foot round table a bit brightly unless one sat on the edge of the light-ring. The sister spotlight shone on the Wunderbar sign above the fireplace next to us.
Noise was not really comfortable, not really overwhelmingly loud. We agreed it was loud enough that we had to raise our voices a good portion of the evening.
If I could stop here, the scores would have been higher, I think.
But, service intervened. So much of the service effort was good: orders taken precisely by Jenna (a 2006 C-D graduate: we took bets so had to ask), water glasses filled with bottle left on the table, Ken’s coffee filled adequately (sorry, Ken, I forgot to ask), dishes bused to our liking, several stops made to enquire about our satisfaction.
It seemed the waitstaff tended to our needs in shifts. Four of the waitstaff would eventually wait on us, but not with any consistency or smoothness, and with no particular one taking charge of our table. When tired of looking for Jenna, we asked another waitstaff who would fill our request, disappear, and the cycle repeated for the evening. We would have asked a fifth waitstaff if there were one. And the check took fifteen minutes to materialize. It was almost comical, except it set an edge that had us asking to keep an eye out for the next waitstaff passing by.
Two bottles of inexpensive red (Montepulciano, pinot noir) kept five of us happy, with two sodas filling out the drink order. It should be noted that Wunderbar, as many restaurant are doing, had a half-dozen beers on tap, something that almost changed our drink order.
The customary preliminary basket of something to munch on (bread, usually) was not part of Wunderbar’s routine. DP8 is too traditioned to ignore this absence. A separate order of bread elicited a small plate of a roll for Ken and we might have jumped across the table to pilfer it if it had been earlier in the evening.
The dessert menu is a bit limited but it grabbed four of us. Deb and I shared the apple pie a la mode (a bit mediocre, with a no-crisp, somewhat soft crust, with an acceptable fruit filling) and the brownie sundae (Ken, Kriss: it was goood, deep chocolate). (Everyone commented on the role reversal.)
Mark and Chay enjoyed a black Sambuca (not so easy to find, a plus for the bar), and Joyce finished with coffee.
And the bill. Yes, the bill. We are feeling guilty.
Inspection of the bill revealed that we were given the Bluehawk discount (10%, I think). Not that any of us are Bluehawks (Hudson mascot), but we were willing to be Bluehawks for an evening.
Another look revealed that Mark’s meal was subtracted because of a mix-up in ordering. (Fish & chips first arrived but Mark had ordered the catfish. While the rest of us enjoyed our meal, Mark waited until his arrived, timed perfectly to finish with Ken. ha)
The kicker: the wine was not on the bill. Do you confess? Was it a generous offering from our former student? We dithered, thinking Jenna made it happened. The service washed away some of our guilt. Before someone caved, we strolled onto Warren Street to head back in the darkness of an early autumn light rain.
Yes, the bill. I had predicted $80-$100 per couple, just to give a head’s-up. But the final number was… less than Deb K’s age. (Please, no wisecracks about age, but this gives an idea how little we paid.)
I would go back and take my chances with service.
The Group was minus one, as a peruser of the number of scores might have noted. Deb K was occupied checking up on her mother. Missed ya, Deb.
Conversation in the car ride back and forth, as well as at the table, included the usual but the big one, as should be guessed: The Monteverd WWII trip for a couple weeks, including an extension with family in/near Amsterdam. Kriss (and sometimes Ken) narrated the high points of the trip: events, battle sites, food, the wonder of Eagle’s Nest, walking, pacing, fellow travelers, etc. And more about the extension that added to the flavor of the trip. We were pleased the first European post-retirement trip was such a worthy adventure.
Other topics: Mah jongg, the Notarnicola trip to Italy with Mike and Penny, sympathizing with Deb K, the Karneses’ trip to NH & Maine and the details, Deb’s mom, Chris’ birthday the day of DP7, Nathan’s garage, wildlife in our lawns, a wet stretch of weather, juggling dates to settle on future DP8 dates (we did decide on October), the Kavanaugh hearing (a rare foray into politics cut short about how the Red Sox were doing), the roundabout, the Food Pantry, and more that has not been remembered.