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Ten Bistro restaurant review, Norcross

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A wooden sign on the wall reads “Life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friend.”

Lyrics by the Fab Four seem most fitting for Ten Bistro, a healthful neighborhood joint seeking to bring the community together. Nestled in a Peachtree Corners strip mall a mere two miles from the Atlanta Athletic Club, the subtle counterculture vibe here comes as a welcome surprise.

Review by Jenny Turknett

Review by Jenny Turknett

Ten Bistro sources local and organic produce, dairy, eggs and grass-fed meats. The restaurant boasts a state-of-the-art water filtration system and buys organic fair-trade coffee. Vegetarian and gluten-free options? Check. When asked about the number of gluten-free dishes, owner Jesse Kauffman explained that after developing the gluten-free rice-pasta fettuccine, they noticed that many other menu items were also gluten free and “realized that [they] just tend to cook that way.”

Ten Bistro created a handsome gathering pad for locals, complete with a familiar set of baby boomer-era tunes. Warm woods and lime green Chihuly-inspired fixtures set off the teal exposed-pipe ceiling and warm orange Cirque du Soleil-style fabric drapings.

In an effort to draw folks into this mellow setting, Ten Bistro reached out to the community when developing the menu. Area residents submitted recipes, and several locals currently have their names in print on menus bearing their creations. Over time, additional dishes will be added until the menu contains 10 local flavors.

Beef brisket (photos by Becky Stein)

Beef brisket (photos by Becky Stein)

If you plan to submit a recipe, eschew the consideration of a heavy fried dish for one with a lighter profile. A healthful slant colors the menu at Ten Bistro, with lightened versions of comfort foods weaving their way into each course.

Take the Bahia Nachos ($6.50). These chips won’t break the calorie bank, nor will they taste like it. A few sparse shreds of cheese, tiny strings of fish, diced red onion and a dash of red tomato here and there only garnish the nachos, which remain largely unadorned. Might be time for some new threads? Stick with the complimentary bowl of garlicky hummus, seeded lavash and raw veggies, a stand-in for the bread basket.

Key lime panna cotta

Key lime panna cotta

Even the brisket, my favorite dish here, goes lighter and natural food-chic, paired with Israeli couscous. The earthy King Platter ($16.95) layers a generous serving of tender brisket over thin slices of tender red and golden beets and beautifully red beet-dyed couscous. The salty beef broth served on the side adds the seasoning missing from the other elements on this strikingly colorful plate, although I must confess I yearn for a little mound of potatoes – just enough to sop up the savory puddle of beef bits and juice.

To the contrary, another dish, the Surfside paella ($16.50), teeters on the edge of lackluster. While paella is often eaten family-style directly from the pan, this version wouldn’t inspire the community to circle up. Rather than a treasured family recipe, it smacks of a weeknight assemblage of a few precooked proteins and a metallic yellow package of Mahatma saffron rice – satisfying but not scarf-worthy.

If you split before dessert, you’ll miss the array of options from smoothies and handmade flavored ice pops to pastries including crepes and panna cotta. You’ll also miss the fact that some of them have been liberated from traditional textural constraints. Thin smoothies ($4.50) in flavors such as spiced peach and almond-coconut-blueberry slosh freely – completely devoid of ice. Our waiter even confesses that he asked the kitchen why the smoothies were so “loose.”

Loose would also aptly describe the key lime panna cotta ($6.50), more milky gelatin than custard. On the flip side, the puckering key lime of the panna cotta paired with the sweet-tart mango coulis almost compensates for the awkward texture.

Whether you’re a vegetarian, gluten-sensitive, calorie-conscious or the average Joe diner, you’ll find something on the menu at Ten Bistro. The kitchen seems to have a fittingly laid-back approach, resulting in a few missteps along the way. Nonetheless, this is a happening place with the local boomers on Saturday nights. And, perhaps after a little more time for exploration, they can work it out.

TEN BISTRO
5005 Peachtree Parkway, Norcross. 770-375-8330
1stars5Food: New American bistro fare
Service: Friendly and chatty
Best dishes: The King Platter, key lime panna cotta
Vegetarian selections: Wild veggie cake, grilled vegetable sandwich, salads, fettuccine and more
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover
Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-midnight Fridays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays.
Children: Yes
Parking: Yes
Reservations: Call ahead for preferred seating up to a week in advance.
Wheelchair access: Yes
Smoking: No
Noise level: High when restaurant is full.
Patio: Yes
Takeout: Yes
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19 comments Add your comment

Gunny

October 27th, 2011
10:34 am

I tried 10 Bistro. It is not the place to go if you like American food served efficiently. I’ve had better MREs than the tiny steak. Unsat! The atmosphere reminds me of the time I was spat on upon returning to my country from Nam with the hippie-dippie music and hare krishna robes hanging from everywhere. They even serve something called a hempacinno. Is this what I fought for over there?

Rodney

October 27th, 2011
11:14 am

Ethno-Ovo-Veggie? Lacto-Feral-Veg? Seasers? LOL … I’m being punked, right?

make it stop

October 27th, 2011
11:16 am

@Marlein, Shoreline, Jayne – keep your day job, comedy writing isn’t in the cards for you.

BeFree

October 27th, 2011
11:54 am

I’ve been here alot. The vibe is sweet inside and outside. I had the flan stuff for dessert and I liked it. If you wait until close it’s the best though. With their fresh philosophy and their healthy menu, it makes for one of the best freegan destinations in the metro area. I have rescued enough good food from their bin to feed a small village. I like to eat there best because usually what I harvest to take home gets mixed up in my satchel with items from Lon U Chinese, Johnny’s Pizza and Trader Joes. It’s all good but I wish they would make them separate food/waste types into separate bins so it would not get so contaminated.

loukeeda

October 27th, 2011
11:56 am

“Life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friend.” I understand people’s dietary concerns, but you cannot expect everyone to cater to you. I have celiac disease and instead of INSISTING i get what I want, I just order accordingly.

Lorenzo

October 27th, 2011
12:10 pm

I love the comments! I have no idea what Marlein and Shoreline are talking about with their feral chickens, and Gunny is having flashbacks to ‘Nam!

PJ

October 27th, 2011
1:15 pm

I have eaten there & I was underwhelmed. The cocktails were great, but the food was just OK at best. I enjoyed the hummus & lavosh to start. I had a steak sandwich & the fact is that a little more steak with a little more seasoning would have gone a long way. Yet, the sparse amount of steak did manage to completely soak the bread on which is was place turning it into a soggy mess. Maybe it would have filled me up if I had been able to eat the bread too. I also tried the onion soup. Something about it was off – an overabundance of some seasoning that I couldn’t put my finger on, but it sure did overwhelm my palate. I was looking forward to the key lime panna cotta from the beginning of the meal only to be told at the end that it had not solidified enough at that time. @BeFree said it is best at nearest closing time, which indicates to me that it should be started earlier in the day to be available & of the proper consistency by regular dinner time. The nutella crepes were fine, but not great. Nutella is always good. The chocolate cake was truly awful. I am not sure what was wrong with it, but inedible. I enjoyed the atmosphere & the music – I would say it is a great place to meet for cocktails if I am in the area, but I wouldn’t drive there for the food.

Judy

October 27th, 2011
2:08 pm

Been there twice — really great atmosphere with really bad food! Both times table of ten – everyone had the same comment.

Carol

October 27th, 2011
2:33 pm

Can we stick to the restaurant on this blog? I am no vegan and I love the place’s food and atmosphere. Was needed in that neighborhood for quality food at reasonable prices. Cannot name another restaurant where you will be on 1st name basis with the owner/chef Jesse on first visit. Article failed to mention the most popular Wed. wine tasting, Sunday brunch and Thurs Ladies night (3 hours from now I will be there, tick, tick). Great place for a lunch meeting as noise level is fine and great wait staff is attentive but does not hover. Should give J Alexander’s some needed competition. I believe the music is XM’s The Bridge which is perfect fit for this audience.

No employees please

October 27th, 2011
2:46 pm

Carol, you obviously work or have some stake in this place and it also obviously sucks.

I didn’t climb to the top of the food chain to eat hummus and listen to mellow music surrounded by circus banners.

Common Sense

October 27th, 2011
3:04 pm

Enter your comments here

Common Sense

October 27th, 2011
3:07 pm

I guess you can go next door to Johnny’s Pizza if you don’t care what you are consuming. But you will have to be there early as they close at 9.

10 Bistro is open late, and that’s more than you can say about most other restaurants that serve real food in that area.

No common sense

October 27th, 2011
4:04 pm

Yeah, because it’s so healthy to eat dinner after 9:00 at night

Fmrbosnowatl

October 28th, 2011
10:54 am

I find Ten Bistro to be quite good….a nice addition to the Peachtree Corners/Johns Creek restaurant scene. Well prepared comfort food at reasonable prices.

JoAnn Rose

October 28th, 2011
11:43 am

My family and I will NEVER go back to Ten Bistro. The service was bad and we waited over 25 minutes for our entre’s…2, of which, were brought out cold! The management was not apologetic, instead made us feel it was our fault! We were very patient and did not even complain that the food was cold. The owner definitely has a problem dealing with customers. This restaurant WILL NOT LAST LONG in Peachtree Corners! As a resident of P’Tree Corners for 23 years, I predict this restaurant going under in a year.

Sue

October 28th, 2011
11:49 am

As Judy and her friends said, atmosphere great, but BAD FOOD! We had a table of 5 and no one liked their food.

Steve Gee

October 28th, 2011
10:13 pm

Was looking forward to this place opening up thought it would be a funky little place to munch and drink some good wine. I was wrong! If you are going to go through all the trouble of filtering water, an organic this and reverse osmosis that the reward should be it tastes good. Organic free range-fair trade=bland

karebear

October 29th, 2011
3:46 pm

We did need a restaurant of this calibre in the neighborhood. I agree. One that utilizes grass fed beef and organic fruits and veggies. But, they need to know how to cook it. I was so excited to eat at 10 Bistro on the recommendation of a couple of friends and was greatly disappointed. I know they are trying very hard but they need to rework some of their recipes or maybe get a different chef? I had the salmon and it was overcooked. My husband had another dish of which he can’t even recall what he had he was so disappointed. Then tried the nutella crepe (which is one of my favorite desserts!). It came out cold! Was not very good. Our waitress had no idea what she was doing. She told us the specials on the menu then came back and told it us she was wrong and gave us the new items only to have no idea what the ingredients were. Really!????! Then, at one point we didn’t see her for what seemed like eons. Oh well, another one bites the dust. Too good to be true. I really hope they can turn their act around and get it right. But, I’m afraid to try it again only to waste my money.

Lori

November 2nd, 2011
5:08 pm

This is one of our favorite places to eat and hang out in Peachtree Corners. My husband, son and I have never had a bad meal and the staff is very accommodating with substitutions. Wine tasting night is one of our favorites, too. Sunday brunch is excellent. I can’t believe all the negative comments…