Date Night

At CineBistro, Food Plays a Starring Role

CineBistro, which took over the old Saks Fifth Avenue space at Westfield Southgate, offers a gourmet twist on dinner and a movie.

By Judi Gallagher May 17, 2016

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Let me come right out with it: I love CineBistro. Good food, a great wine list and cocktail menu, and service that's on par with Ritz-Carlton standards? Yes, please.

The perfect escape from summer's impending afternoon downpours and extreme humidity, CineBistro takes the dining experience seriously. After a Diet Coke at the bar, we walked into the theater and to our assigned seats. Almost immediately, we were greeted by a knowledgeable server who walked us through the ordering process (and also explained how our chair reclined). Comfortably positioned and ready for our movie, we ordered. 

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The menu has a variety of options, from spicy chicken wings to hummus, filet mignon to pasta and cauliflower steak. We opted for tuna ceviche, Kobe beef sliders, a Cobb salad, a half-size chopped Italian salad, a medium-rare ribeye with Gorgonzola, potato and French green beans, and, oh yes, a 10-oz. pour of Meomi wine to last the entire movie. When placing your order, you've also got to be prepared to order dessert, popcorn and candy--all the food is served at once so that movie-goers aren't interrupted by servers running back and forth. 

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The tuna ceviche was refreshing, and the Kobe sliders flavorful and cooked to the requested medium rare. Good start.

My steak, at $26, was much less expensive than a fancy steakhouse where a ribeye can run you $46 with no sides. It was also cooked to a perfect medium rare, which is not always so easy for a kitchen when all the orders are coming in at the same time.

The salads, while abundant, lacked seasoning and definitely needed more dressing, something I'll stress on my next visit, when I plan to order a salad and a burger. And speaking of burgers, while we chose sliders on this visit, it is clear that CineBistro's burger reigns--we heard others saying they come for the burger in CineBistro's dining area when they don’t feel like seeing a movie. I'll be back to try it with the truffle fries.

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We finished our meal with banana cheesecake. The presentation was beautiful, with bruleed bananas and white chocolate pirouette on top.

And once again, I must mention the service. From the ticket attendants to the gentleman serving mints as we left the theater, service is clearly a main focus here--in a time when the pool of professionals is waning, CineBistro clearly owns its training policies.

I foresee power walks inside the mall before a movie next week, followed by dinner with my feet up, burger juice running down my chin.

CineBistro 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota 34239 | (941) 361-2456

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