Optimistically Cautious

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Gem of a Find: Shine Bistro

After reading a very positive review of Shine Bistro (9828 101A Avenue) in Vue Weekly several months ago, I was looking forward to sampling their fare. Upon discovery that they were only open for lunch on weekdays, I was dismayed, as having only a half hour for lunch prevents a sojourn of any kind beyond the humble square footage of my office.

That said, when booked for off-site training in November at a nearby college, I was hoping I could rope my colleague into trying out the cafe with me. She heartily agreed, and we set off for an early lunch after being released from the lab.

It wasn't an easy place to find, tucked away on the eastern side of the Citadel Theatre complex. We were lucky to find that a crowd had yet to gather, so were able to order right away. Their menu was displayed above the counter on a colorful blackboard, reminding me very much of the now-defunct Whole in the Wall cafe (the space now occupied by Tzin). Though they had many tempting options (including pizza, salads, and cold "shinewiches"), we both decided to try the special of the day - a Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich, served with either a soup or one of three made-from-scratch soups ($6.99).

We found a choice table situated by the window, and waited patiently for our food as the place filled up. It was barely five to twelve and all the tables had already been spoken for. We didn't wait long, but quite frankly I wouldn't have minded. It was a lovely day, and with the sun streaming in from the window next to us, illuminating displayed artwork for sale and the charming red of the dining tables, I could have remained there all afternoon.

The food was great - they certainly didn't skimp on the chicken breast, and the melted swiss and crispy ham, sandwiched between the toasted kaiser sides was bliss. The soup definitely tasted homemade, with a generous serving of vegetables, chickpeas, and lima beans in every spoon full. My only nitpick was that the potatoes and carrots weren't as soft as they could have been, and should have been allowed to stew for a while longer.

Shine Bistro does feel like a gem of a find - its location, minimal hours, and limited number of in-house seating lend itself to the cultivation of an exclusive crowd. So if you're in the area, buck the food courts and fast food giants and give Shine a try! You won't regret it.

Approaching Shine Bistro


Order counter (I love the colorful blackboard)

Table for two

Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich with Minestrone

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