400 West 4th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701
I recently went down to Bistro 400 in Santa Ana for dinner. As I walked through the front patio to get to the front door of the restaurant, I saw signs in the window advertising Happy Hour Specials from 4-7 PM. As my party of 5 was being seated at our table at 6:00 PM, I overhead the people that were just getting seated next to me ask about the happy hour specials. I then heard the waiter say that they were ending happy hour at 6:00 on this day because the band decided that they wanted to start playing early. Even though I was there for dinner and not their happy hour specials, this was a "ding" in my head against the restaurant. If you are going to advertise certain hours for happy hour specials all over the place (signs, website etc.) then you should honor those terms regardless of when the band for the night decides they want to play. But I digress....
I came here for dinner on a Friday night with a party of 5. The restaurant is a little small with table seating for about 30-40 people inside, about 30 or so on the patio and another 10 or so at the bar. There isn't a lot of room to maneuver around inside. Bistro 400 features live music on select nights. On this particular night they had a 3-piece blues band. The music was extremely loud. This is not a restaurant that you should go to if you are planning on having a conversation over dinner.
After looking at a lot of reviews and tips on Yelp and Foursquare, we decided to order the "G" Bread ($8.00) that everyone raves about.
The "G" Bread is described as "Crusty Baguette topped with Garlic butter, Jack and Parmesan cheese, set in a creamy garlic sauce." People seems to love this stuff. I was very disappointed with it. It was basically a few thin slices of generic cheesy garlic bread in a bowl of watery bechamel sauce and the portion was quite small. No one seemed to be terribly impressed with this dish. Definitely not worth $8.00.
For dinner I ordered the Bleus Cheeseburger ($11.00). The burger was topped with sauteed mushrooms, bleu cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. It was served with fries. The burger patty itself was a huge, thick slab of juicy beef. I thought the burger was pretty good but thought it could use a stronger bleu cheese and a little more salt or seasoning of some sort. V took a couple bites of my burger and disagreed. She thought it was perfect and declared it to be one of the best burgers she has ever had. The fries seemed to be of the generic frozen variety.
R ordered the 6-oz. Steak and Fries ($14.00). He said that it was pretty good, but didn't seem too excited by it.
V ordered the 12-oz. Steak and Fries ($24.00). I asked her to order the 12-oz. portion so that I could eat some of her steak. We were both pretty disappointed in this dish. The steak tasted like a steak you would expect to get at a diner. It was covered with a generic brown mushroom gravy. The french fries were plain and boring. I don't think either one of us would order this dish again.
J ordered the Chicken Costa Del Sol ($18.00). The menu described this dish as "Chicken topped with crab meat, artichoke, white wine caper sauce. Rice and sautéed spinach" J thought her meal was awful. The crab on the chicken was almost non-existent. She also thought that the chicken was dry and chewy. She wasn't able to eat very much of it. When the waitress cleared her plate, she noticed that most of the food was still on the plate. She never asked if anything was wrong with the meal though.
S ordered the Lobster Ravioli ($18.00). She received about six or eight small lobster ravioli covered in a crab-laced garlic parmesan sauce. S enjoyed her ravioli and said that the sauce was very good. She really liked the crab in the sauce but she thought that it might have been imitation crab. The portion was pretty small so it wasn't enough to fill her up.
For dessert we decided to share two items. The first was called the Chocolate Vesuvius. It was basically a warm chocolate lava cake. I thought that it was really weird that the plate came garnished with random fruit like grapes and cubes of melon. The cake itself was pretty good. It had a nice smooth texture and a rich, decadent chocolate flavor.
The second dessert we got was a Fried Bananas Foster. The plating of this dessert was weird. The dessert was basically a banana and caramel wrapped in an egg roll wrapper and then deep fried. It was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and the same weird grape and melon garnish. It was a very odd dessert that I do not think I would order again.
Overall this restaurant is decent. Everything seemed pretty generic though. Nothing stood out as special or unique about this place. I would go back to get another burger or try some of their other menu items, but I won't be rushing back any time soon. It's a nice option if you're looking for a little bistro in the area. If I was looking to eat in the area though I'd want to get an arepa from Mil Jugos. Too bad Mil Jugos isn't open for dinner...