Sunday Brunch at Bistro 1501

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Bistro 1501 interior

People, we have to stop eating like this.

I headed to Lake Mary recently to try the Sunday brunch at Bistro 1501, the eatery named for the address of the Marriott hotel in which it resides. I first reviewed this restaurant when the hotel, curiously named the Orlando Marriott, first opened almost exactly 11 years ago. My assessment at the time was one big shrug -- it was neither terrific nor terrible. It just was.

Over the years, I’ve heard from people who’ve enjoyed their meals there, and I’ve heard tales of a wonderful brunch. Sadly, I can’t agree.

Oh, this is a great deal if you want to cram as much food into your maw without concern for that food’s quality, and if you don’t want to pay a lot for that volume. At $22.95 -- including a mimosa! -- it’s a veritable bargain. And from the looks of some of the patrons who were there when I visited and their stretched-to-the-limit jogging pants (which I’m going to guess have never been jogged in) the hotel loses money on the brunch.

Or maybe not, because nothing I sampled screamed quality to me. on the contrary, it whimpered.

bistro 1501 plateBreakfast items were better than the lunch items, but only marginally. There was an omelet station being operated -- when anyone was there at all -- by a rather dour woman. What is it with breakfast places being staffed lately by non-morning people?

There was a do-it-yourself waffle station, too, a new one for me. It was new to the young man -- I’ll guess he was 9 -- trying to figure out how to operate it and whether the substance in a nearby squeeze bottle was the waffle batter. He asked me and I guessed that it was. 

The poached eggs on the Benedict -- which the hotel expected guests to pick up using tongs -- were nicely done. But the biscuit under the blandly seasoned sausage gravy was hard and dry.

The carved beef was the safest bet from the lunch items. The chafing dishes held unrecognizable items. Even after tasting them I’m hard pressed to offer any kind of certain description.

And yet people just kept making trip after trip to the trough. 

I’d much rather pay the price for better quality and give up my right to stack my plate high and often.

Bistro 1501 is at the Orlando Marriott, 1501 International Parkway, Lake Mary. Brunch is served Sundays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The phone number is 995-7053.