Monday, June 28, 2010

Rochester: Katz's Bistro Bar

I've been wanting to go here since it opened a couple of months ago, but unfortunately haven't been able to get here until now. Like all restaurants, it has undergone a few changes between when it opened and what it's like a couple of months later as things are fine-tuned and the menu is refined. For one, when it opened, it was called Katz's World Bistro and Bar, and now if urbanspoon is to be believed, the world has been dropped from the name (of course, anyone can go on and edit that information, so the name there may not be accurate). Also, a number of sushi rolls from when this place was part of the Sushi Itto chain (www.sushi-itto.com) are back.

We were here on a recent Monday evening after work, about 5:30, and there was no one else in the restaurant. We sat down at a table, and the waitress brought over the menus. I was unimpressed with a lot of the menu choices at Katz's. They had typical appetizers that you can find at just about anywhere--with the exception of panko-crusted avocado fries, which I didn't try. They had two soups on the menu, but we were told they no longer had the shrimp bisque. They had two hamburger choices, four pizza choices, and three pasta choices. Then they had a selection of other items such as quesadillas, fish tacos, etc. If the name change at urbanspoon is legitimate, I can definitely understand why the "world" aspect of the name has been removed, because there weren't a lot of choices, and so few that would fit into the aspect of "international" or world food. Instead, they appeared to offer an ecclectic choice of different types of cuisine--burgers, pizza, pasta, sushi, and a few other choices that different restaurants in the area may offer as well--places that wouldn't pretend to be a world bistro. Granted, this is probably the only place in Rochester where you can go and find all of these choices all in one spot outside of a mall food court.

Tammy and I both decided to go with the pizzas. She ordered a smoked salmon pizza, which we had never heard of until now, and as far as I know, this is the only local place to get a smoked salmon pizza. She says this was good, and it's also something that I would consider trying here. I got a buffalo chicken pizza which the menu said was slightly spicy. I was wondering what they considered slightly spicy to be, and this was a good chance to find out. I get frustrated by Minnesota spice levels at national chain restaurants--when you order something that they claim is spicy and then it turns out to be very mild, it's very disappointing, especially if it's something like buffalo chicken. I mean, what's the point? I consider mild sauces and salsas to be no different than tomato sauce. I'd have to agree, though, that the buffalo chicken pizza to be slightly spicy. It's a mild spice, or perhaps what a lot of people in Minnesota might consider to be a medium sauce, and the least amount of spiciness that I would consider to be spicy. Overall, the pizza was good--not the best pizza I've ever had, but not the worst, either.

The wait staff here was friendly and attentive, so there was no problem in that regard. Despite my initial disappointments over the menu choices, the rest of the experience was good. This is not fine dining by any means, but we rarely go to places that would be considered fine dining. This is more the type of place where you could take a date before a movie, or if you have a family that can't decide what type of food to eat, there is probably something here for just about anyone.

But how likely am I to return? The avocado fries may get me back in, and the smoked salmon pizza, which I would say are the two most interesting things they have on the menu.


Katz's Bistro Bar on Urbanspoon

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