Eating at a less than stellar fine dining establishment......

Discussion in 'Restaurant Reviews' started by chefross, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. chefross

    chefross

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    The title says it all. Put out big bucks for a very mediocre dinner at a supposedly high end restaurant in a hotel.

    There were so many mistakes, it's hard to pinpoint just one issue.

    The waiter should not be one, that was very clear, when he did not know his menu at all. He had been there for a while.

    The place was packed for a Monday night though.

    We ordered high end champagne and after waiting 20 minutes, I had to flag down the waiter to tell me they had sold out the last bottle (really?)

     A little history first. Our group was 14 people and we called in advance to make the plans.

    We asked for 2 rounds and were told that it would not be a problem. When we got there we were shown to a long table. In fact, the whole dining room HAD no rounds at all.

    It's hard to conduct conversation with people at a long table. That's why we asked for a rounds.

    Appetizers were ordered and two people ordered the Caesar salad. Everybody else got there appetizers and these 2 people just sat there. When I flagged the waiter, yet again, I asked why the Caesars were not brought out and was told that the waiter was going to bring them out with the rest of the first courses.

    By now, I knew that we were all in for trouble that night. (And by the way....the salads were supposed to be made table side, but the 2 that were brought out were made beforehand in the kitchen and hurriedly brought out. They were evidently made with pre-made dressing complete with rock hard French fried croutons.

    And it went on from there.

    The kitchen timed the food according to their system and our food was cold. 

    Imagine a bone in filet on a cold plate.

    Dover Sole (yes.....the real thing) brought to the table on a beautiful copper pan......cold.

    When we got home the next day I called to speak to the manager, and today is Wednesday and I have not heard back yet.

    Dropping $1,200 for dinner  for 14 people is something you do once in a lifetime.

    We thought we were going to have a night to remember.

    .......And we did.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010
  2. tylerm713

    tylerm713

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    I'm not making a sweeping generalization here, but most of the hotel restaurants that I've tried have been rather underwhelming. Not sure if there's a correllation there.
     
  3. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Sorry for your bad experience, ChefRoss. Unfortunately it happens---far too often, lately.

    Personally, I would have included the name of the restaurant in your post, so others know to avoid it. But that's just me.
     
  4. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    I understand your disappointment... been there; done that.  What a shame.  I hope the company was good and you all had some enjoyment.

    Especially hotel restaurants, I've lowered my expectations (significantly) and been able to have much better times once I come to grips with the fact that it will be BOTH expensive and imperfect.

    Not returning your call, however, is a real slap-in-the-face.  Do the right thing: NEVER GO BACK!
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010
  5. babytiger

    babytiger

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    Where exactly is this place? It's good to know so folks can avoid it.
     
  6. chefross

    chefross

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    Thanks for the replies.

    To date, I still have not received a phone back from the manager.

    The place was in Detroit, and that's all the info I will give out.

    Anything else could possibly be slander, as we all don't know the people on these forums.....

    I will tell you that this place was recently purchased by a investment group and is undergoing change to a Marriott.
     
  7. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Just for the record, ChefRoss, it would be libel. Slander applies when it's spoken, libel when it's written or otherwise published.

    However, in either case, truth and absence of malice are absolute defenses against such charges. Sharing the info with the Cheftalk community is, prima facia, absence of malice. As people likely to visit that restaurant, it's in our interestest to know about any negatives. And, presumably, the experience was as you described it; which satisfies the truth half of the defense.
     
  8. gunnar

    gunnar

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    lol, if that was an issue, half the posts on places like "Yelp" could be considered libelous. Since I will be going to Detroit in like...never...I don't care what the name of the place is. Are you willing to take PM's from locals asking what place to avoid?
     
  9. leeniek

    leeniek

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    We have had some similar high end dining experiences.  Every year (thankfully not this year...lol) my husband's work has their yearly dinner party at a high end place.  The best experience I have had was at the Rosewater Supper Club but others have been disappointing.  There was one place in the Distillery District of TO that was defiitely not the best (I forget the name of the place) and I wasn't the only one at the table to have a disappointing meal.  We went another year to a place in the Financial District, again in TO and once again the  meal was disappointing for many people.  That place is gone now but they charged them extra for having to accomodate an allergy plate (mine) and a vegan plate (one of the designers they had at the time was vegan)   This year business tanked due to the economy so no dinner party.. instead they are having a staff only potluck tomorrow at the studio.  I'm sending Minestrone and homemade bread with hubby. 
     
  10. chefross

    chefross

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    OK then....I did hear back today and the manager took my critiques in a professional manner. The whole issue had to do with a menu description that no one on the kitchen knew about.

    (Mignonette Sauce for the oysters) This is what threw off the tables dining times, as the (Chef?) did not know how to make the sauce and this took 20 minutes.

    The place was the Rugby Grill in the Hotel Townsend in downtown Detroit.
     
  11. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Did they offer to comp you and your special someone a couple of dinners?  Money back?  Or just "Sorry, it was the chef's fault?"  They ought to do something to try and make it right.  In my opinion you should speak with the hotel management and tell them that not only was your dinner unsatisfactory, so was the apology, and ask them what they're going to do about it besides shift the blame.  Do it in a reasonable tone of course, and don't threaten.  There's nothing you can do to get even and they know it.  But they also know they were wrong and should go a little out of their way to repair the damage. 

    Mingnonette is just shallot brunoise and vinegar -- sometimes with a little wine, citrus, some herbs, or maybe a bit of bell pepper. In any case, it's nothing complicated and nothing which requires more than a couple of minutes to look up and prepare -- which shouldn't have been necessary because it's usually not done a minute anyway.  Timing aside, I could make a quart of it in 4 minutes using a food processor, and 11 with a sharp knife.  If the chef truly didn't know how to make it, he should have -- and that's the restaurant's responsibility.  It explain the problem with the champagne, why the fish was cold, why they told you they had rounds and didn't, and many of the other faults.

    If there's one thing a hotel restaurant ought to be able to do, it's handle a medium sized party such as yours.  Your description makes it sound like they were short-staffed in the back and the front.   I think you may have been too ready to accept the BS apology because you know stuff sometimes gets confusing in a kitchen.  But that doesn't mean you should let the management off the hook.  $1400 should buy more than "he did it."

    And by the way, this conversation is not libelous.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2010
  12. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Yeah, what BDL said.

    Frankly, I was appaled at the explanation you were given. First off, I can't believe that the chef was unprepared to make anything on the menu. But a mignonette? Gimme a break---it's just shallots and vinegar, after all. And that doesn't explain all the other problems.

    This is obviously a place to avoid. Were it me, I'd be making a big fuss, not only with the hotel management, but with the CofC, the local newspaper food writers, and everyone else I could get to hold still and listen.
     
  13. chefross

    chefross

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    Thanks for your comments.  Commenting in order to get a "freebie" is not my way. I have always loathed that way of doing things. To me, it reeks of selfishness and egotism. My intent was to make sure they were properly informed of their mistakes. My family and I were all well aware of what happened to us and are still talking about today. 

    When I make a mistake, (and it happens) an apology and a lesson is learned.

    Once....shame on you......twice....shame on me.

    They did offer a coupon for money off the next time I dined there.....and I took it as a further slap....well because I spent so much money on a product that was merely mediocre for such a high end place. I simply will never go back, and will tell anybody who will ask, to do the same.
     
  14. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    You don't get it.  The point of demanding that they make their mistakes right, has nothing to do with getting a "freebie," but everything with allowing both parties to retain some modicum of dignity.  I prefer not to analyze this further for fear it may seem critical of you -- which is not my intention.  You were the victims here, and no blame attaches to you for it.  It does bother me a little though that you would so misunderstand me.

    BDL
     
  15. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Freebie is such a loaded term.  You just didn't get what you paid for and the restaurant should either give you what you paid for, give you your money back, or adjust the price accordingly.
     
  16. leeniek

    leeniek

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    I agree with BDL and Kuan... you did not get what you paid for and they should be doing something more to help right their wrong.  There's nothing more powerful than word of mouth and when people hear about it, they will think twice about dining there.