A case in point is Sumatra Bistro Cafe & Bakery, which occupies a corner space of a building located east of Lakewood Drive, off Oakfield Drive. Once I found the place, which, approaching from the west, has terrible visibility and a dysfunctional parking lot, I joined the Mississippi Maven at an outside table on a spiffy spring day.
|Sumatra's patio is a plus, but server access was a problem during our visit.|
Although I have my share of beefs with Brandon, this sprawling bedroom community has managed to retain a vestige of small-town folksiness, and we were greeted with enthusiastic hellos and a smiling staff. The level of professionalism ended there, however, as I received the wrong meal and servers busing open-air tables tried futilely to enter the restaurant bearing armloads of dishes. Patio diners politely offered to open the door for the plate jugglers - which begs the question, why not prop open the door? I could take a trip down Snarky Lane, but I'll forge ahead to the food.
Reminiscent of Season's Fresh (see recent post), Sumatra is following an emerging trend: a focus on fresh, organic and locally grown ingredients featured in salads, paninis, wraps and sandwiches. Gourmet coffee, tea, and baked goods complete the cafe-bistro profile.
Since the Trib gave Sumatra an enthusiastic review, I guess I expected more substance and creativity. I ordered a cup of Tomato Basil Bisque and an Eggplant and Mozzarella Sandwich. What I mistakenly received was hard-boiled egg and cucumber served on a Pepperidge Farm deli flat. Rather than remove the dish and correct the order, the server said the chef must have misunderstood her "egg" instructions. I didn't want to hold up the Maven's meal by requesting a new sandwich, so I simply ate what was before me, which certainly was no guilty pleasure. In fact, it was quite diet-friendly.
|Weight watchers, rejoice!|
Deli flat. Cucumber. Egg. Need I say more? The high note was the fresh-tasting soup, rich with tomato and nicely infused with basil. I would also recommend the coffee, which the server said was - you guessed it - Sumatran.
The Maven had a Chicken Caesar Wrap, which she uncharacteristically remained mum about throughout the meal. Both entrees were accompanied by a handful of mixed greens, some carrot shavings, a few cheese crumbles and a side of ordinary house vinaigrette.
|The word verdant comes to mind.|
When I asked her in the parking lot what she thought of the place, the Maven shrugged and said we've had better lunches. She's right. We both could have made any of this stuff at home.
Sumatra Bistro serves breakfast and lunch, and stocks a bakery case full of treats. The hours posted on the website vary depending on the day, so consult before you go.
Verdict: So-so bistro.
Sumatra Bistro Cafe and Bakery
1602 Oakfield Drive