Review: CineBistro – Waverly Place (Cary NC)

I had the pleasure of attending a dress rehearsal for the newest CineBistro location at Waverly Place in Cary. Many thanks to Tara Mead Schaup, Event Manager, for coordinating an evening of cocktails, great food, and previews. I attended as a guest of a guest and was not compensated for writing about my experience. As always, this review is my honest opinion.

CineBistro is a movie theater with in-theater dining, a full-service bar, and a lounge. If any of you are thinking, ‘I know what this is, I’ve been to Raleighwood,’ stop right now. I’m not here to pick on the RW, but that’s like comparing an AMC Pacer to a BMW. Yes, it’s that different.

The bar and lounge are comfortable in a modern lodge sort of way. I would compare it to the bar at a Firebird’s restaurant. The bar menu includes a fair selection of beers–from domestic and imports to IPAs, a whole mess of liquor drinks (seriously, 22 of them), and a wine list better than I’ve seen at some restaurants. You can spend $8 on a glass of Cabernet or $110 on a bottle of Perrier-Jouet, and everything between.

But you know what I really want to talk about. The food. The food! This isn’t fast food or what you might think movie theater food would be. This is savory, flavorful, sit-down restaurant food.

To kick things off, I had The Bay Crab Dip (lump crab and three cheeses served with aged cheddar pull-apart rolls for dipping). The serving was plenty for two people to share, and it was all crab. I mean, if you like crab, get the crab! It was cheesy, too, and did I mention that it was nearly all crab? The rolls were dense and heavier than I prefer, but that’s a matter of personal taste. My main course was the Ribeye Cheesesteak (8 oz. shaved ribeye, slow-roasted in-house, with sautéed peppers, caramelized onions and topped with creamy American cheese). Even though the cheese was MIA (remember, this event was to work out the kinks), this was possibly one of the best cheesesteak sandwiches I have ever experienced. The beef was tender, not dry, flavorful, and there was plenty of it. It was served with one of my favorites–sweet potato fries. Can’t go wrong there. High points on the food.

Ribeye Cheesesteak with Sweet Potato Fries
Ribeye Cheesesteak with Sweet Potato Fries (that’s half the sandwich in the photo; I lost my mind when it arrived and ate half before taking a photo)

Dessert. I skipped because I’m on a low sugar diet, but I did sample the Butterscotch Bourbon Creme Brûlée to my left and the Cineful Chocolate Cake to my right. It’s tough for me to rate desserts since I’ve kicked sugar–everything tastes overwhelmingly sweet now. However, my two friends who let me sample theirs both said they were delicious. Note: the chocolate cake is both gluten-free and soy-free. There are several vegetarian and gluten-free dishes on the menu. Bonus points there. The menu has a lot to choose from. You can get a Caesar salad, a 9 oz. filet, or pan-seared Atlantic salmon, to list a few items.

Butterscotch Bourbon Creme Brulee
Butterscotch Bourbon Creme Brulee
Cineful Chocolate Cake
Cineful Chocolate Cake

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the seats. Oversized, leather, electric push-of-a-button recliners. Can you see it: a glass of red wine, a nice ribeye cheesesteak sandwich, and a recliner. Movie? What movie?

You can purchase your tickets online, at the kiosk in the lobby, or at the ticket counter. But they’ve made the experience even better by allowing you to reserve your specific seats in the theater. No searching in the dark for an open seat! This is not Southwest folks, this is reserved-seat civilization.

Were there snafus? Of course. Some received their food quickly, while a couple of us waited. There was a glitch with the computer, but as soon as it was apparent some of us were not eating, servers from other stations quickly came to pitch in and re-take our orders. We were allowed two cocktails at this event, and when my friend ordered her second, it arrived about 20 minutes later. I’m not sure if this was connected to the computer glitch, but the staff never seemed flustered, and they were apologetic and professional. I didn’t mind eating late–the whole point was to give the team a practice run before they open this weekend on September 4.

How much for all of this cinematic glitter and glam? My evening described above, on a “live” night, would break down like this:

Movie ticket – $14.50
Cabernet (glass) – $8
Crab Dip – $13.50
Cheesesteak Sandwich – $15.00
Gratuity (17.5% added for you) – $6.40
Total – $57.40

That’s steep for my budget, so I won’t be doing my Oscar marathon here in January. However, I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed the whole experience. I’ll definitely go back, probably for a special occasion or a girls night. For the couples out there, this would be a great date night. I recommend giving it a try. I think you’ll like it!