CineBistro Review, Stony Point, Richmond VA

Tickle the Tastebuds - Cuisine & Restaurants

As Things Should Be

A review of CinéBistro by Eriks Goodwin-Pfister

 

When I first entered CinéBistro, I was rather stunned by the lobby and front bar. The theater was more elegant than one would expect from a movie theater. From natural stone and walls of brick, to the stamped metal ceiling tiles high overhead, the entry experience was amazing. The staff were all well dressed and more polite than I had expected from today's youth. As a media representative, I was led through the theater, shown all the innovations and special touches, then treated to a sampling of the restaurant offerings on the menu. I have been back many times and plan to continue doing so.

The Executive Chef from Cobb Theaters was present and explained the painstaking efforts made for months in advance of opening to identify local food sources and to determine the palette of the Richmond market. The appetizer offerings are quite excellent and offer some creative twists on traditional offerings. I especially recommend the “Ginger Tuna and Salmon Spring Roll,” which was better to me than most local restaurants can manage. On the other hand, if you want something more creative, the “Popcorn Calamari” is an unexpectedly well-matched duo of movie popcorn and expertly prepared calamari—served in an old-fashioned carnival-style popcorn box.

When it comes to dinner choices, I recommend either the “Grilled Meatloaf Marsala” or the “Lump Blue Crabcakes.”  Even as I write this review, it still seems odd to me to be talking about fine dining experiences while writing about a movie theater—but then I pause and remind myself, “this is how movie theaters should be.”  

The bar at CinéBistro is well stocked and the bartenders are expert in the preparations of the libations offered many times from the movie screen as you await the start of your movie. The only criticism I can really offer—but one that should be taken seriously—is that despite the focus on local tastes and local food suppliers, there is not a single Virginia wine nor a Virginia beer to be found on the menu. This oversight diminishes the “local focus” concept, which was explained by the CinéBistro management.

Movies at CinéBistro are quite an enjoyable experience beyond the food and service. The opulence of the lobby and front bar is exceeded by the large leather theater seats with super-wide aisles and well-placed swing-out tables for each seat. Like a traditional theater, all seating is reserved, so there's no wondering if you will have a good view or not in the stadium style theater with a super-huge screen. For those who love the front row, you will be treated to ottomans in addition to the huge leather seat. The other part of what makes this cinema experience so amazing is the “no one under 21” rule that applies to the entire theater. With no talkative children, the movie experience can wash over you without interruption.

I have even found that when one is not even going to a movie, the front bar at CinéBistro is an excellent place for a drink after work or even a casual dinner. And while you sip or sup, you are treated to old black and white movies projected onto the stone wall over the bar.

CinéBistro is leading the trend in providing live telecasts on the silver screen of such amazing events as the Metropolitan Opera, live from New York. There is even an upcoming 3D live showing of Carmen from the Royal Opera House in London. As with many other theaters, CinéBistro offers private events and screenings—and they have an extensive library of movies from which to choose for the truly special event. During the press preview, CinéBistro was screening the remastered version of the Wizard of Oz—which was truly amazing on the big screen (I am too young to have seen it in a theater).

In summary, CinéBistro is an excellent addition to the Richmond market—both as a cinema and as a restaurant. And with movie ticket prices no higher than other local theaters—and with dining prices no higher than a quality chain restaurant—anyone would do well to choose CinéBistro for their evening (or matinee).

CinéBistro is no ordinary movie theater—and it should be in your plans in the very near future. 

 
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