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618 Bistro in Raleigh

This restaurant is very close to where I work, but I waited until I could have someone eat with me before trying it out.  It was a rainy day out so I imagine it would have been busier on any other day.  Since the area has a lot of office buildings and the Rex Hospital is nearby, a lot of the lunch places like Which Wich and Sushi-Thai get swamped.  I’m not sure if reservations would normally be appropriate for lunch, but it probably couldn’t hurt.

Seafood Soup

The lunch menu is fairly short, just 1 page front and back, but the variety of food there is pretty impressive.  They offer several different kinds of salads and panini, but also have items such as Korean short ribs and kebab on the menu as well.  Since I was cold and wet from being out in the rain, I ordered a cup of their soup of the day (some type of seafood) for $3.  I ordered the Korean beef short ribs for an entree, and my husband ordered the lamb panini and a side of Caesar salad.

My soup came out in a small bowl with a plate of 3 bread pieces.    The bread seemed to be spiced with a bit of black pepper.  I would have preferred oyster crackers with my soup, but I never say no to free bread.  The soup was good on a cold rainy day, though it doesn’t really compare to the she-crab soup I had in Myrtle Beach.  I think a seafood soup should be either crab or fish, but not both.  The different textures between the two is odd.

Caesar Salad

My husband didn’t receive his salad when I got my soup.  When the entrees came out, he still hadn’t gotten it.  I didn’t think to say anything, but about a minute later the waitress came out with an extra dish of salad.  Apparently it would have come on the plate with his entree, but they had accidentally put the wrong salad on his plate.  So he got 2 salads!  They were somewhat small anyhow.  Neither one was great, in his opinion.  The panini was more bread than anything, and the bread was very warm and soft.  The lamb was very good and had a delicious sweetness to it, but there wasn’t nearly enough of it.  I had a bite of his sandwich and I thought it was delicious but unbalanced with the bread.

Lamb Panini

My spare ribs came with a small salad too, though I wasn’t aware of that when ordering.  I really liked my salad.  I thought it had a very refreshing, light dressing, and I loved the little slices of pear in it.  The ribs were served in long, thin slabs, not the smaller pieces that I would normally get in a Korean restaurant.  The meat had a good flavor with it, and the sauce was good too.  My main complaint is that the meat became cold so quickly.  I think if it had been served on its own hot plate, rather than on a plate with cold salad, the heat could have been retained longer.

Korean Beef Short Ribs

I thought the service here was really quick, and we had finished our meal in just over a half hour.  That’s a big plus to me when I go out for lunch on the weekdays.  The portions were very light, so if you’re expecting a Denny’s size lunch you’re probably going to be disappointed.  I think it’s a good size though if you frequently eat out and don’t want to ruin your figure.  At $8 and $9 an entree, it’s not too bad for lunch.  But you can get better deals in both price and quantity at other restaurants in the area.  My husband didn’t like the restaurant as much as I did, because he was disappointed with the lamb portion in his panini.  I wouldn’t mind coming back again though, I did like my entree and I thought the quickness of service really works out well with my schedule.

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