UPDATE 9/6/2013: Fortino’s Bistro is now closed.
Monday’s THRIVE Lunch was at the newly opened Fortino’s Bistro. Fortino’s opened its doors in March and brought another fine dining option to Appleton’s lovely downtown area. As could be expected, the turnout for THRIVE on Monday was excellent. The crew started trickling in a bit later than normal, but by 11:45 we had filled the better part of Fortino’s front dining room.
An Easy and Tasty Express Lunch
The crew at Fortino’s Bistro started everybody off with water and lemonade and kept everything simple, quick, and straightforward. There were two choices for the express lunch: baked macaroni and cheese or fettuccine pomodoro with seared chicken. Far and away the fettuccine pomodoro was the preferred dish for lunch, but a couple folks did opt for the mac ‘n cheese. Personally, I decided on the fettuccine. Ever since I had a bad run-in with some organic mac ‘n cheese a few years ago I’ve avoided mac ‘n cheese like the plague.
The express lunch started with a richly flavored side salad that received a lot of positive comments from my fellow lunch goers. One of my tomatoes was a bit on the frozen side, but otherwise the salad top notch and just the right size considering what we had coming. Shortly thereafter the main course started hitting the table. As you can see, the fettuccine pomodoro with seared chicken is exactly as you might have imagined it to be. It also came with a side of broccoli. The chicken was moist and not overcooked, but a few strands of the fettuccine could have benefited from a bit more time with the oven.
About half way through the lunch our waiter came out with a couple of trays of a baked flat bread generously flavored with onion. It was a pretty nice bonus on top of everything else we had experienced thus far that day. As if all that was enough, desert was a single scoop of a vanilla bean ice cream. I’m a total sucker for ice cream (and many other things), so that really put Fortino’s Bistro over the top considering this entire spread of salad, pasta, chicken, lemonade, broccoli, salad, onion bread, and ice cream came in at only $10.50.
In summary, was it perfect? No. Was it a great little experience that will send me back to order off the regular menu? Most definitely.
204 E College Avenue
Appleton, WI 54911
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One thing is obvious, Green Bay is known for its football team. But I am starting to see a pattern in the restaurants here as well. They all rock. Lately we have been in Green Bay on Tuesday evenings and often find ourselves asking people for restaurant suggestions. So far every recommendation has been great and Tuesday night’s recommendation was no different. We tried out Plae Bistro on the south side of Green Bay.
Modern, Chic Atmosphere
The atmosphere was pretty incredible. It was on the darker side, but the lighting was striking and illuminated the room just perfectly. There were mirrors along one side of the dining room, as well as a large booth along the same side. There was a small bar towards the back of the dining area and the ceilings must have been 30 feet high. The atmosphere matched the menu perfectly. Some of the appetizers on the menu included Spinach & Artichoke Dip, Ahi Tuna Bites, Brushetta, and Pecan Encrusted Scallops, all of which were in the $10 – $15 range. Cajun Shrimp & Andouille Sausage Pasta, Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin and Pan-Seared Duck were all just a few of the entrees offered, which ranged from $15-25 a plate.
Fresh Bread & Oil
I decided on the Asiago Chicken Panini, which was grilled chicken breast, spinach, tomato, asiago cheese, and garlic mayo served on tomato focassia bread. It also came with the choice of cottage cheese, pasta salad, chips & salsa, or a mixed greens salad. Shortly after the waitress took our order she came back with bread, dipping oil, and olive tapanade. The service here at Plae’s was unforgettable, in a good way. They were very attentive and a staff member was constantly within a short distance, filling up waters and ensuring guest satisfaction. It was the best service I have had at a restaurant in a long time.
By the time the bread and oil were finished, the waitress was bringing out our food. The chicken in the panini tasted like it came of a backyard barbecue. It was charred wonderfully and went well with the focassia bread and other additional toppings, including the robust garlic mayo. The pasta salad side I decided on was in some type of sweet vinaigrette, which was a nice change from the typical mayo based pasta salads. It was a satisfying sandwich and I will definitely be back. Maybe next time to try some of the appetizers along with a glass of wine or two.
1671 Hoffman Road
Bellevue, WI 54311
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We’re three for three on recommendations in the Green Bay area. Once again the Tuesday evening networking group that gets together at the Top Hat Club (Standard & Co.) came through with a great recommendation. This time around the recommendation came in the form of Plae Bistro.
Atmosphere + Service + Food
My first thought upon walking into Plae Bistro was, “I like this place.” I immediately liked the darker atmosphere and the aesthetic is sophisticated without being uppity. I could do without the wall length mirrors, but I wasn’t about to let my personal neurosis get in the way of a good meal. However, I did make my Food in the Fox co-contributor swap seats with me so I wouldn’t have to watch myself eat… nobody wants to see that, including myself. There was quite a number of people having dinner but there was no problem at all hearing across the table. Service was also near the top of the chart. While it took a little while for the waitress to come around to take our order, from that point on service was spot-on. I doubt my water glass became more than half empty before being refilled during the entire experience.
Bread + Dipping Oil + Chopped Olives
The appetizer rolls arrived with a side of dipping oil and chopped olives. We could have used a bit more oil, but what we had made me want to stop by The Olive Cellar and pick up bottle. The chopped olives were a nice additional touch.
Tuna Salad + Onions + Grapes + More!
The menu ranged in price from about $10 up to $30+ for the nightly specials, so Plae Bistro could get really expensive really quickly. Opting to keep things under control. I went for the Tuna Wrap (about $10.00). In my head, I had imagined chunks of seared tuna and what arrived, as you can see, was tuna salad. Very good tuna salad, but it wasn’t what I expected. Mixed in with the tuna salad was red onions, mixed peppers, red grapes, fresh tomatoes, and mayo served in a garden herb tortilla with romaine. Side options included cottage cheese, pasta salad, chips and salsa, or a mixed green salad. I opted for pasta salad, which had a strong vinaigrette flavor. There was also a pickle.
As a final temptation, the waitress came around with a desert tray loaded with cakes and cheesecakes. Even thought they looked way too good, we somehow managed to not indulge beyond the breaking point. We’ll save that for another day.
1671 Hoffman Road
Bellevue, WI 54311
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