Victor’s Bistro & Garden Room
WHY YOU SHOULD GO
Honestly, you haven’t experienced all that Florence dining has to offer unless you’ve been to Victor’s. It’s a Florence favorite and has been recognized as “Best of the Pee Dee” for formal dining by Florence Morning News readers for many years.
WHY WE WILL GO (AGAIN)
We will go again to continue to sample Chef Tommy Crayton’s menu of local, seasonal ingredients. Overall, we would rate Victor’s, maybe just a bit generously, with a 3 of 3 on our unique rating system. Most of our experiences have been excellent with only a few exceptions noted in the comments below.
BACKGROUND (from website)
The original Victor’s of Florence was established in September 1998. With its unique menu and impeccable service, Victor’s quickly became one of the most popular white-tablecloth restaurants in Florence. In January 2003, a rapidly growing clientele led to the opening of the new, larger Victor’s Bistro at 1247 South Irby Street. Tim and Anne Norwood acquired Victor’s Bistro in early 2009. Victor’s commitment is to provide the freshest local ingredients, fresh seafood, house-made sauces, and the finest hand-cut beef available combined with its promise of Great Food, Great Wine, and Great Hospitality. The main room is a more casual dining experience with piano melodies of Peggy Yarborough. The more formal setting is the Garden Room; a Southern plantation dining room.
Note that Victor’s will host of an upcoming Eats! Club™ event, now scheduled for September 10, 2011. More details will be posted on PeeDeeFoodie.com and to our Facebook Group Page. Join our new, complimentary Eats! Club on Facebook.
On the occasion of our most recent visit, we arrived without a reservation. We were greeted warmly; however, our lack of a reservation seemed to be a bit of a concern. To remedy that issue, we made one on the spot via the Open Table iPhone app and it was confirmed within seconds. The hostess was amused that the reservation popped up on her screen so quickly and it sparked a conversation between her and our dining group. Because we now had a reservation, OpenTable rewarded us with 100 dining points and we were on our way to the dining room.
We were then seated in the main room in a large booth near a window. As it was early evening, it was an especially nice location and a good fit for our party. The decor is somewhat dated and not necessarily commensurate with the price point of the menu, but nonetheless comfortable and well-maintained.
Our server greeted us promptly and professionally. We were told of the special available that evening and were not rushed into menu selections. Other diners around the room appeared to be enjoying themselves and the mood was relaxed.
The menu itself is diverse and pretty well-balanced across different categories. Prices are on the high-end especially for Florence and the Pee Dee region, but are expected given Victor’s reputation for its fine dining experience. Victor’s is often seen as a special occasion restaurant per conversations with friends and co-workers. That said, within the last year its competitively-priced lunch menu has exposed many more area residents to the creations of Chef Crayton and his team in the kitchen.
Of course, Victor’s is known for it’s wine list as well as its cuisine, but we chose soft drinks for this meal. We’ll discuss the wine list in a future blog post.
Our meal started with the Large Cheese Tray as a shared appetizer. Served on a round cutting board, there was apple-wood bacon smoked bleu cheese, smoked Gouda, Parmesan and Gruyere cheeses, as well as an assortment of crackers and a tasty fig jam. It was artfully displayed and enjoyed by everyone.
One of the great things about Victor’s menu is that the entrees can be ordered in half portions. This can be helpful to both the waistline and pocketbook depending upon your selection. Our group ordered from across the menu selecting the following: Caprese salad, Veal Picatta, Bourbon Street Filet, Seafood Linguine, and 2 orders of Pan-seared sashimi-grade Tuna with Wasabi whipped potatoes.
Sharing the Caprese Salad were the two ladies in our party. They noted that it was beautiful to the eye and delicious with its tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, fresh basil leaves and fresh mozzarella. It was unquestionably large enough share.
I had the Veal Picatta. To be honest, I love anything with capers; not sure why but I do. This dish was excellent for many reasons with the capers being the least of them. It was generous in portion size, the pasta was al dente, and the veal was tender, perfectly breaded, and paneed. The side of spinach was delicious as well and just enough to add balance to other flavors. In short, I would order Victor’s version of Veal Picatta any day of the week.
The other gentleman in our party ordered the French Quarter Filet. It was prepared to the specified temperature, was a petite size, as requested, and topped with seafood. The sides were veggies over a red rice dish. Details about this dish are listed below in the Dinner Menu items. All looked delicious and per reports were.
The Seafood Linguine included shrimp and scallops and was topped with shaved Parmesan. Our daughter enjoyed this choice and, though it was a half-portion, was sufficient to allow for a take-home box. The sauce was not too heavy, seafood tasted fresh in flavor and texture and the pasta was well prepared.
The Pan-seared Tuna orders were also presented well. The Wasabi whipped potatoes were creamy and delicious; I managed to bargain a bite from my wife. The flavor complemented the tuna as intended and was not overpowering as the “green stuff” can sometimes be. The veggies were the same as provided with the steak entree. Both ladies agreed that the tuna, while ordered rare, was a bit over done and lacked distinctive flavor.
Our server checked on us periodically, but did not hover. Glasses were kept filled and plates cleared in a timely manner. At the conclusion of our meal, the check was divided accurately and we were allowed to continue our conversation at the table without feeling rushed. When we exited the dining room, we were thanked for our visit by the hostess; something all diners appreciate.
Steak Sandwich – Seared beef tips, red peppers, onions on a baguette w/mozzarella -$9.00
Grilled Portobell0, red pepper, caramelized onions – w/mozzarella on a Kaiser roll – $8.00
Bistro Chicken – Grilled breast of chicken w/white cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions on a Kaiser roll – $9.00
Victor’s BLT – House-made pimento cheese, smoked bacon, tomato, and watercress on sourdough – $8.00
House-made Chicken Salad – w/mixed greens & fresh fruit - $7.00
Bistro Salad – Baby greens, oven dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, blue cheese, and pecans - $6.00
21 Day Wet-Aged Angus Filet of Beef Tenderloin – 8 ounce hand cut – $29.00
21 Day Wet-Aged Angus Rib Eye topped with blue cheese butter – 12 ounce hand cut -$24.00 / 14 ounce hand cut – $29.00
21 Day Wet-Aged Angus New York Strip – 14 ounce hand cut – $29.00
French Quarter Filet – 8 ounce Angus blackened beef tenderloin, grilled and topped with shrimp, scallops, Chorizo sausage, mushrooms and green onions, placed gently over Sofrito red rice and finished with Tabasco Buerre Blanc – $32.00
French-Cut Pork Chops – 16 ounce bone-in French cut pork chop brined in apple cider, grilled and served with fried redskin potatoes, fresh squash and zucchini – $32.00
Chicken Moutarde – Grilled marinated chicken breast topped with whole-grain mustard and caper cream sauce, served with roasted garlic mashed potato and a vegetable – $18.00
Rack of Lamb – Grilled and served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and a rosemary demi-glace – $25.00 Ahi Tuna – Your choice – grilled or sauteed – $24.00
Tuna Diane – Skilled-seared Ahi tuna, almond encrusted with a soy-ginger vinaigrette over linguini on a bed of mesclun – $25.00
Fresh Atlantic Salmon – Your choice – grilled or sauteed
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
While we enjoyed the unique opportunity to enjoy live music in a restaurant setting, it was at times difficult to hold a conversation at our table on the opposite side of the dining room due to the volume. Not all entrees were prepared to order, so more attention to detail on items as delicate as the Ahi tuna might be necessary. Interestingly, while we were enjoying our meal, I received an email from OpenTable noting that our reservation for the evening had been canceled at the request of Victor’s. This was probably done in error. Even so, we lost our associated dining rewards points for that visit. Finally, if Victor’s were not planning a relocation, we would suggest a general dining room update. Because it is, we are enthusiastically looking forward to attending its future grand opening downtown.
PHOTOS AND VIDEO
A Note on Reviewer Objectivity: PeeDeeFoodie.com reviewers are independent and opinions are uniquely their own. Writers research and write all Quick Bite restaurant reviews personally, based entirely on meals personally taken in the restaurants featured. Writers pay for all review meals from their own pockets. Writers do not accept free review meals, nor are they reimbursed by anyone for restaurant expenditures.
Category: Restaurant Reviews
About the AuthorWife, mother, homeschool teacher, aspiring photographer, and social media maven, Melissa is the co-founder of PeeDeeFoodie.com™. She is native of the Bayou State, and proudly claims her Cajun ancestry. She writes from a personal perspective and has a style all her own. Learn more about Mrs. Pee Dee Foodie through her Contributor page under the About tab.
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My apoligies on the tuna and I want to clarify that we cook ALL of our entrees, apps, salads to order. The veal picatta is one of my favorites. Shoot me an email Mr. PDFoodie and i'll take care of your open table points. Thanks!!!