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Mystery Diner: Corinthian Bistro is Tri-Cities' latest Italian cuisine venue

Mystery Diner • Jun 7, 2018 at 5:13 PM

During the dine-around bunch's last dinner outing, a spirited “discussion” between the Carnivore and myself found the two of us presenting an idea to the rest of the team. Over the next four weeks, the dine-around bunch would focus our palates and wallets on restaurants whose menus offered all things Italian. Our reasoning was that there was enough variety in Italian-style cooking that we all would emerge from a monthlong foray into Italian cuisine not only well-fed but with taste buds un-jaded from our collective indulgence. Unanimous agreement to the plan found the five of us walking through the front door of Johnson City’s Corinthian Bistro just about suppertime.

(Exterior)

Johnson City's Corinthian Bistro is currently occupying the building that formerly housed the West Market Street branch of the U.S. Post Office. As a result, it still has the look and, well, "charm" of a mid-century Modern-era government building, with some new signage added out front and on the windows. There's plenty of parking space available with easy access to the front doors.

(Interior)

A good deal of renovation has been done on the restaurant's interior by the new proprietors of Corinthian Bistro. The walls and vertical surfaces have been painted in bright colors. The restaurant's ceiling has been renovated and new light fixtures have been installed, greatly brightening up what was formerly dark and somewhat gloomy interior. There is sturdy new furniture in the dining area, with clean and tidy restrooms at the rear.

(Aperitivo: Bruschetta Pomodoro)

SInce this was to be a collective exercise for all dine-around bunch palates, we decided to order an Aperitivo (appetizer for us "Americanos") and then three Entrati (entrees) to share around the table. Courtesy of me, our choice for first course was Corinthian Bistro's Bruschetta Pomodoro ($6.75). Here, Corinthian Bistro's kitchen takes three of their thick home made Italian bread slices, covers them with crushed garlic, diced pomodori (tomatoes), drizzles them with olive oil and dusts with fresh herbs. A quick sprinkling of mozzarella cheese, then into the oven until golden brown and toasty. Served with a ramekin of the house red sauce, each torn-off piece of bruschetta was just the thing to awaken our taste buds and get appetites revved up.

(Entrata Primo: Cannelloni a Pollo e Spinaci)

The Retiree wanted to see how Corinthian Bistro put together a dish using stuffed cannelloni pasta, the stuffing in this case being a mixture of chicken and cooked spinach ($9.99). Cooked half-inch diameter cannelloni pasta noodles are filled with a mixture of marinated chicken breast and thigh meat, organic spinach, two cheeses (mozzarella and parmesan) and Corinthian's own spice blend. The stuffed cannelloni noodles are then covered in the house-proprietary marinara sauce, more mozzarella cheese and then baked until bubbly. When the platter was brought to our table, the Retiree grabbed the red pepper dispenser and gave the cannelloni a couple of good shakes worth; this amped up the spice and heat levels, as well as adding an astringent quality to the dish, making its cheesy quality less cloying and more "approachable" for everyone's tummy and taste buds.

(Entrate Secondo: Pastitsio)

The Carnivore's entree contribution turned out to be an Italian take on pastitsio ($9.45), done Corinthian Bistro style. Normally of Greek origin, the dish is basically a pie with bottom and top layers made from pasta (usually bucatini or ziti varieties) using an egg and cheese binder. The pie filling (normally lamb) in this case is seasoned ground beef, then more egg and cheese with a white bechamel sauce blended in. The top pasta layer of the pie gets an additional layer of bechamel sauce, spices and more cheese. The whole of this creation is baked in a dish awash in marinara sauce. The result resembles lasagna, but with much more flavor and a pleasantly mild spice bouquet. I had the merest forkful of the Corinthian Bistro's Italian version of the classic Greek pastitsio and found it to be a savory delight.

(Entrate Terzo: Chicken Parmigiana Pizza)

My dining partner and the Dieter jointly decided that we would all share one of Corinthian Bistro's specialty pizzas, their chicken parmigiana pizza ($9.99). This is truly a "specialty" pizza in every sense of the word. Beginning with one of their scratch-built pizza crusts, Corinthian Bistro takes breast of chicken and marinates it in their proprietary marinade. The chicken is then coarsely chopped and combined with their spice medley and marinara sauce, spread onto the pizza dough, topped with a mixture of Romano and mozzarella cheeses, then finished with fresh slices of tomatoes with some chopped onions and garlic for emphasis. The pizza is then baked in Corinthian Bistro's very hot pizza oven until the crust is crunchy and crisp on the bottom and around the edges, and the cheeses are melted and yummy. Having been to Corinthian Bistro on a previous visit, the Retiree gladly assumed the role of "Mother" for our repast, making sure everybody got some of everything we'd ordered, even the Carnivore's ground beef pastitsio.

(Porta Via)

So what porta via (take away) do my friends the dine-around bunch and I get from our evening at Corinthian Bistro? Well, the place looks great inside and out, and their food is some of the best Italian cuisine I have had in a long time. My friends and I particularly enjoyed the chicken parmigiana pizza, and of course the Italian-style pastitsio. Corinthian Bistro also has Mediterranean and Aegean offerings, has a gluten-free menu and a fairly complete burger and sandwich menu. From the Retiree, I am reliably informed that their desserts trolley can include authentic Italian tiramisu ($4.99) and a delicacy called Corinthian chocolate delight ($4.75). There is a Party Room available if you are planning a festive celebration. Oh, and every Thursday night is Greek Night at Corinthian Bistro, featuring special Greek entrees, desserts and "happenings." Why not see if Corinthian Bistro can be your newest Italian/Mediterranean specialty restaurant?

Corinthian Bistro

1109 W. Market St.

Johnson City

833-0033

Daily 10:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Available on Facebook, social media and at

www.corinthianbistro.com

Credit cards accepted

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