And, oh yes, the wine list was bleak and overpriced.
This is a bistro, tucked away in the Marketplace Design Center. It began by serving lunches to furniture buyers and sellers and extended its hours to serve dinner four nights a week.
Bistro means paper napkins and white butcher-paper tablecloths and flimsy silverware, and there's nothing wrong with that, because bistro usually means filling food at modest prices.
A skimpy portion of pan-roasted grouper, as dry as a Bob Dole speech, accompanied by limp, gray-green (from overcooking) snow peas - at $19.95, that's not bistro food.
It was one of the ``specials'' that night, although my Main Line seafood guru, Kevin Hill, said he had not seen any grouper in the market that week.
Entrees from the regular menu were more reasonably priced and more satisfying as long as you're specific about how you want something cooked.
Tuna is sliced thin here, yet they did manage to prepare it medium, a neat trick. It came heaped with crabmeat, mango and tomato salsa, well worth the $14.95 tab.
The center-cut pork chop offered real value at $13.95.
Of the specials tried, the thick veal chop, wearing a large portobello mushroom cap, seemed fairly priced at $19.95.
The grilled filet of beef ($14.95) looked and tasted as though it had been pounded by Rocky.
Folks at a nearby table sent fish dishes back for further cooking. They returned 15 minutes later, after the other couple had finished their main dishes.
Lovely bride ordered the potato-and-crab-crusted halibut and was first served what looked like a thin triangle of swordfish. That exchange took 10 minutes.
Appetizers were just as uneven. The steamed Chinese dumplings ($4.95) arrived in a steamer basket and that's nice. But the wontons were gummy and that's not so nice.
The crabcake ($5.95) was the best of the hors d'oeuvres, a mix of shrimp and crabmeat baked, not deep-fried, served alongside some greens.
Vegetables followed the same quixotic pattern, some wonderful, some woeful. The mashed potatoes were terrific, the broccoli mousse timbale interesting, the thin string beans overwhelmed by an herb I couldn't identify, the snow peas a disaster.
Could dessert rescue the evening? On a first visit, the banana chocolate chip cheesecake seemed weary. It was better, fluffier the second night but nothing memorable.
The tart tatin ($4) was a clumsy facsimile of the caramelized apple tart that almost makes it fun to be an American in Paris.
The profiteroles were fine and the best dessert of all turned out to be a blueberry tart, with a flaky crust and smooth custard.
We were not charged for the uneaten grouper and management bought the desserts to compensate for the mixups.
A disclaimer at the top of the one-page paper menu asked diners to ``pardon our appearance during our expansion.'' Peering through the haze created by a human chimney at the next table, I had no problems with appearance that night.
The lunch menu looks promising, salads from $5.50 and sandwiches from $5.95, including a grilled sirloin with spinach and goat cheese on a baguette for $7.95.
There are 15 beers to choose from at prices more palatable than the wines.
If the new room means they're adding more help in the kitchen and increasing the waitstaff, and they're willing to give the non-smokers some breathing room, the place may prosper, because most of the prices are right and the portions generous.
BISTRO ST. TROPEZ 2400 Market St. * 1/2 (one and a half stars)
If you go
Bistro St. Tropez
Hours: Lunch, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday; dinner, 5:30-10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 5:30-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Entree prices: $13.95 to $19.95.
Liquor: Sparse wine list, good beer list.
Accessibility: No problems.
Credit: Major cards.