Saturday, April 27, 2013

Restaurant Whinning

Maybe this is wussing out, but I'm not going to name the place. I've been a few other times and had significantly better experiences. I'll chalk this up to a Restaurant Week anomaly. So I'm going to bitch and moan about nothing of life changing importance. Hopefully none of this will get read by an actor.

I was downtown earlier tonight, me and two kids on tow, and without realizing it walked into one of the restaurants participating in the almost ended restaurant week. We got there at 4:45. The place was mostly empty. I asked for a table for 3. The hostess asked if I had a reservation and I did not. Apparently that was an incorrect answer. My response was met with sighs and paper flipping. Another host came to the stand. The first said to the second, "I have 3 walk-ins and I don't know if I can put them anywhere." Sorry to inconvenience you with my patronage of your restaurant.

I noticed a Restaurant Week sign, realized they looked like they were going to get slammed and said, "If you are booked up for the restaurant week, we can come back another time." I was told all they had was some tables by the bar or something in the lounge area. The kids were tired and hungry - I had them running all over town for the last 5 hours. So, we tried the lounge area. It looked nice enough, but I envisioned one of my kids dumping something all over the couches there and opted for a high table near the bar.

The kids got burgers. I went with the restaurant week menu. The appetizer and dessert were nothing special and get to escape the whiny, tirade that follows. The main course was not good. A dish that failed from it's inception. It was the dish that a chef proudly presents to Gordon Ramsey or Robert Irvine prior to getting read the riot act about why their restaurant sucks on a restaurant reality TV show. Everything about the dish failed:

The pasta wasn't good - no shit, you could buy better out of the freezer case of any local Italian market.

The sauce was a completely separated oil slick.

There were rings of a bizzaro kielbasa-ish meat, allegedly chorizo.

The diced tomatoes were those Styrofoam kind that get cut into huge chunks and top iceberg lettuce salads in the winter. Probably would have been better and cheaper if they came out of a can. Even cheaper if they never made it onto the plate.

There was some broccoli, mushrooms and shrimp in there too. Very backhanded compliment: though flavorless, the shrimp weren't over cooked.

I find it hard to believe that a professional chef in a pretty popular restaurant came up with the dish. I know, I know, I know...I'm whiny food snob and probably even worse. I wasn't expecting fine dining and I'm sure several corners were cut in trying to make some money at a $20 price point. But for how much chorizo was in the dish - buy a hunk of decent chorizo and use less. You'll need less anyhow. The pasta, you could probably do better at BJ's. Restaurant Depot probably has something along the same lines and maybe better. And the sauce, a line cook out there needs to learn how to make this one. The chef overseeing him should have taught him how to make this sauce prior to the last night of the restaurant week. In fairness to the hosting staff, the place did fill up while we were there. Although when we left, two of the reserved tables had yet to be seated.

Less bitching. More seltzer.


  1. TBH, if I had inadvertently forgotten it was restaurant week and been in your position I would have quickly exited the unnamed establishment above (though I'm pretty sure I know of whom you speak), and headed for the nearest place with food nearby that did NOT participate in RW. Some of the worse meals I've ever endured in Albany were served to me during RW, when these same decent establishments seemingly forget how to prepare food properly for a week. A bad idea that grows worse with each passing year. Never again for me.

  2. I've only had one other restaurant week meal and it was at Garden Bistro 24 and also an accident. I was reluctant to try mussels in a Gorgonzola cream sauce, but they were fantastic. That meal was definitely worth the 20 bucks. But I agree, I don't see myself seeking out Restaurant Week promotions.