1300 Hares Hill Road
The Station Bistro isn't about to set the world on fire with its innovative approach to cuisine. Be that as it may, if you're in search of a relaxed, unpretentious eatery that serves up simple but well-prepared dishes at prices that won't break the bank, you've come to the right place.
Ensconced in historic Kimber Hall, circa 1787, Craig and Nancy Dill Miller's casual BYOB boasts 18th-century stone walls and floor counterpoised by a colorful splash 20th-century art deco and a modern bustling open kitchen. The restaurant, which is open Monday - Saturday, serves coffee house fare in the morning and then morphs into full service bistro dining at lunch and dinner.
If you're into ribs, you've found a home, as Mr. Miller smokes tender baby backs right on the premises, brushes them with his own BBQ sauce, and serves them up in mouth-watering full ($20.95) or half ($15.95) racks.
As tempting as the aforementioned may be, however, there's more to Station Bistro than just ribs. If you're feeling laid back and lyrical, for instance, you could opt for a juicy half-pound Black Angus cheeseburger ($6.95), vegetable-stuffed Portobello mushroom cap ($7.95), BBQ pork on a Kaiser roll ($6.95), or smoked turkey sandwich embellished with basil mayonnaise ($6.95), all sided by delicious lightly battered fries. They may spring frozen from a plastic pouch, but they are delicious nonetheless.
On the other hand, should you decide to go a bit more upscale, pasta dishes, many of which are available as half portions, are first-rate. Chicken always makes a good match with pasta, and both the grilled chicken with broccoli $14.95) and chicken Florentine ($13.95) incorporate fettuccine and are excellent choices. The former comes alive with a decadent homemade Alfredo sauce, while the latter is spruced up with the savory subtleties of Fontina cheese.
Other sampled pasta dishes included shrimp primavera ($14.95/$9/95) and a nightly special of tortellini Bolognese ($15.95/$10.95). The former was comprised of pristinely crunchy crustaceans, bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions sautéed in a homemade marinara sauce and served over penne pasta; the latter was embellished with a rich meat sauce imbued with cream.
Regular entrées come with your choice of soup or salad, and both are satisfying starters. The soup, for example, might be traditional minestrone or a downright decadent baked potato and bacon. The house salad is iceberg lettuce, but it is absolutely fresh and obviously freshly tossed and accompanied by slices of cucumber, chunks of Roma tomatoes, red onion, morsels of American cheese, and your choice of (bottled) dressings.
Desserts, all made off campus at either the Cheesecake Factory or Sweet Streets in Reading, are good but not exceptional. The Key lime pie ($6.50) and the raspberry cheesecake ($6.95) are both worth the monetary and caloric expenditure; the carrot cake ($5.95) is just so-so. The espresso, on the other hand, is rich and potent and the perfect denouement to any meal.
For a casual, well-prepared meal served at reasonable prices, Station Bistro is hard to beat.
The Artful Diner
Diner is an independent, freelance food writer. His latest review and an archive of past reviews for restaurants around the country and the world can be found on this site on the REVIEWS page.
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