June 14, 2006

A lapse of taste

Joint called 520 Bar & Grill, opened last week in Old Bellevue (nothing to do with the bridge) has already perfected the art of removing flavor from food. Used to be, only low-end places like Olive Garden had figured this out. Bistro Romain chain in France, too, where you stuff yourself silly because your brain doesn't get any signals of satisfaction.

Chicken marsala.JPG Yes no maybe.JPG
520's chicken marsala: a decidedly mixed verdict.

520's menu talks about big-flavored "social plates" and fresh, hearty neighborhood favorites made for sharing. So we take over a fourtop and dig in. Yikes, what a disappointment! Tasteless coconut prawns in an uninspired mango-papaya salsa ($14); Caesar salad ($9) without character, but with a side of salty fries ($2); bland CHAOS salad ($9, supposed to be chicken, avocado and mandarin orange) doused with unsweet honey-poppy seed dressing; chicken marsala ($14) in a sauce that lacked any evidence of marsala; and filet gorgonzola ($16) of unseasoned beef, unseasoned spinach and mildly cheesy sauce. Chicken & beef both bear grill marks, yet remain virginally flavorless. Whoever's frying up those fries ought to do the right thing: at least share the saltshaker.

And this lack of zip doesn't come cheap. A couple of glasses of wine apiece, and the tab, by the time we tip the hapless waitress, is $200! Fifty bucks apiece for wine and apps! Do we feel stuffed? Hardly. Do we feel mellow? Uh, no.

The owners aren't foodies, as if you couldn't guess, but real estate people. On the other hand, Michael Degginger is the exec chef, formerly at Troiani, and ought to know better. Dude, put in an order for some spices, will ya, or else get a patent on that flavor-extracting process of yours.

Listen to this post (2:34):

520 Bar & Grill, 10146 Main St., Bellevue 425-450-0520 520 Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Posted by Ronald Holden at June 14, 2006 10:35 PM

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Where's the Attorneys when you need them. The people -vs- cornichon.org.

Posted by: New York Vic at July 20, 2006 5:03 PM

Where's the Attorneys when you need them. The people -vs- cornichon.org.

Posted by: New York Vic at July 20, 2006 5:03 PM

I'm curious as to why all the positive feedback has been removed from this blog leaving all those who actually frequent "Sizzler" type establishments. Like anyone would actually take this site seriously!!! lol

Posted by: New York Vic at July 20, 2006 5:00 PM

All I can say is YUCK YUCK YUCK!!! Better food at Sizzler!

Posted by: Rachel at July 19, 2006 2:46 PM

Upon entering 520 Bar and Grill, I was excited about the ambiance - it's hip and fresh, so needless to say, I was eager to try their food and get down to some good grubb'n. But after two tries with the Chicken Marsala (the sauce tasted like they burnt it - hey, the smoke alarm went off, dinner must be ready). The waitress offered me to try the Tenderloin Steak Gorganzola. The sauce was great but the steak was overcooked and tough, and the spinach was absolutely tasteless, yuk. It was passable, but that's it. After all of that, yes, I paid full price! They didn't even offer a glass of wine on the house for suffering thru all of these faux pas. My friends meals were also very disappointing. I won't be back to eat. Maybe a glass of wine or a cocktail but that's it. Sorry guys, it was really sad dining experience to say the least!

Posted by: Lisa Hilderbrand at June 15, 2006 6:35 PM

The test isn't in the first two/three weeks. We'll find out in a couple of months whether the operators of 520 have learned anything. Word gets around like jungle drums in Bellevue. Either 520 will be turning down reservations or looking for a good place to put the "For Rent" sign.

Posted by: Dave L at June 15, 2006 5:08 PM

Ambiance it's got, a scaled-back version of the corporate bars up the street at Lincoln Sqaure. But there's no sense of welcome, no sense of caring. C'mon, Bellevue! You can do better!

Posted by: Ronald at June 15, 2006 1:55 PM

How dissapointing... I stopped in on their first night open, but didn't get around to trying any of the food, focusing instead on their cocktails... which were nothing to write home about.

Supposedly the place has been staying fairly busy however? Which just indicates that the local Bellevue crowd is just itching for a place that has this sort of ambiance.

Posted by: Robert Hess at June 15, 2006 1:46 PM