The York Dispatch restaurant reviewers Betty and Hanna headed to Bistro 19, 19 N. George St. (845-1900 or www.bistro19york.com) on a recent Central Market day, a little before the lunch hour. It was quiet. Take it away, ladies:
Locals know Bistro as the place next to the courthouse that has a variety of beer and a menu that changes more often than Taylor Swift's boyfriends.
Don't get too attached to a favorite menu item. Chances are it will be gone when you visit next — like the baked sweet and spicy bacon, which was so good Betty almost burned down her house trying to recreate it. Too bad that's gone.
For this review, we brought two of Betty's kids. The highlights, as seen through the eyes of 11- and 9-year-olds:
•"These onion rings are great except for the onion, that's too thick!"
•"These fries are good like the onion rings only better. But I got like 100 pieces of salt on one fry."
•"If I order a glass of water will you put your phone in it?" (Hanna claims to have a 100 percent waterproof iPhone case. She ordered water, and she put her phone in it).
•"I wish I had the recipe for this barbecue sauce. It's the perfect blend of sweet and smoky."
•"Mom, taste these chicken fingers. They don't taste like anything." (She was right.)
•"The chocolate mousse in this cake is awesome!"
•"The soda is good but it has too much ice."
Hanna: Disappointment yet again with no Diet Pepsi.
I had a ginger shrimp and snow pea salad. I asked for romaine lettuce to be swapped in for the "mixed greens" (which we all know look like weeds scraped from the underside of someone's lawn mower). The salad was excellent — fresh lettuce and ginger and perfectly cooked shrimp. I stole a few onion rings when the kids weren't looking. They were perfect: crisp and greasy, like onion rings should be.
The service was perfect in every way. When the free ice cream the kids were supposed to get with their meal was unavailable, the waitress brought two pieces of chocolate mousse cake off the regular menu, gratis, which we made the kids share with us.
Verdict: We work downtown, so we eat here all the time. I find the food as well as the service consistently good. The prices are reasonable.
Betty: I ordered a burger like I had at Coomb's Tavern so the review was based on a similar meal. Well, that and there wasn't anything else on the menu that appealed to me. Unlike Hanna, I don't eat things I can't pronounce.
The burger was cooked well and was juicy. The fries though? That double-battered thing reared its ugly head again. Please, people, stop with the tastes-like-frozen fries! I too stole a few onion rings and while I agree they were crispy, I think the batter could benefit from some seasoning.
The Diet Coke was awful, which is one of the few things that hasn't changed at Bistro 19 — terrible fountain drinks.
That cake though? Wow. It was really amazing, though I can't say if it was made in house or bought elsewhere.
Verdict: I asked my kids if they would give Bistro a thumbs up. One said no but the other said yes, so long as he could have another piece of the cake. I agree — go for the cake.
— Hanna and Betty are the alter egos of two York County professionals who love dining out. Want to recommend a restaurant for review? Email food editor Mel Barber at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestion.