I am in distress

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by eastshores, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. eastshores


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    I Just Like Food
    Fine dining in Florida...

    I've now had dinners at Ruth Chris, Shula's on the Beach, Council Oak at Hard Rock (by far the best), and Fish Bones

    I would not be the least bit surprised if these establishments were run by the same organization. They have almost the same cookie-cutter operation.

    Every app... seafood consists of "out of state" oysters.. jumbo shrimp.. "African cold water" lobster tail.. and jumbo lump crab. I did note some "local" clams but that makes sense because little-necks are plentiful locally. Of course you can have some fried squid for 20.00 (don't worry the dipping sauce is free!)

    The cuts of beef... basically all the same from place to place. Small.. medium.. large.. and stupid large. They all claim "aged" and "above prime" the nifty cuts are "bone-in" .. that's creative?! They are above most normal restaurants but at around 3x the cost you certainly don't get 3x the flavor.

    I went from one to the next, to the next, and I thought to myself "same menu... same ala cart huge portion over-priced sides"

    I'm not saying the food isn't good or isn't fresh. At Shula's I did 3 times have to remove cracked shell from my mouth from the lobster in their seafood cocktail and what I couldn't get out I swallowed rather than spit my food out in front of my co-workers. That was no fun. But otherwise good food... can't imagine any of it was really a good price but it is what it is.

    These are the "go-to" places... it's sad. I don't want to "go-to" any of them again. The first night was good... I had steak.. and great crab.. bread.. etc. Then... what the hell to order? It's all the same only not as good?

    Where is the creativity? I've fallen into a gold-vein of food for out of town corporate types, and it's not a good feeling.

    If you come to Florida .. please.. research some independent places and find the chefs that are struggling to serve unique food at a reasonable price. Chances are.. if you're a fat cat sitting on a big corporate budget you aren't going to give one damn about my opinion and you're gonna eat at the "TOP" place on the beach.. but maybe someone out there will read this and think twice.. it's worth it.
  2. sparkie


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    Professional Chef
    This is what you get with corporate places. We have all off those places here in Detroit, with the exception of Council Oak. That one doesn't ring a bell. Their need for national consistency makes creativity somewhat difficult. I guess I can understand people being hesitant to spend that kind of money on a place that they haven't heard of... but really, aren't you spending that to have a special night? There are so many bright, creative chefs working for independent operators, why not roll the dice. Check out Yelp, ask the receptionist at the hotel. Ten minutes of research can lead you to a restaurant that has the flexibility to really create something special! Not to mention the positive effect you are making upon the local economy.

    Please head this guys advise.
  3. chefross


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    Former Chef
    It's not just in Florida though.

    Even non-corporate eateries do the same things.

    I understand that location makes a big difference in the creation of menus.  

    The one thing that has always been my beef was that restaurant owners seems to think that steaks and chops do fine dining make.

    So I go from one place to another and find those steaks, in one version or another, the same same same.
  4. chefedb


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    Retired Chef
    Cookie Cutter. Yes they are, but ask yourself have you ever seen one close or file chapter 11? , while other places close their doors.?This seems to be what the public wants and they are giving it to them. Therefore they are successful.
  5. duckfat


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    Retired Chef
    There has been individual chain restaurants that have failed. In the greater Detroit area we have seen a staggering number of establishments fall by the wayside over the last few years. Entire chains have closed in the past.

    I still agree with chefedb that these places only exist because it's what people want but they are not immune from failure.

    It makes me particularly sad to read eastshores post as I spent the first ten years of my career in Florida. At that time I worked in a restaurant for a Captain that had his own fleet of fishing boats. Every thing we served was fresh and Local. When Zellwood corn was fresh it came over by the truckload....Pickup truck....LOL

    One of our favorite restaurants in Islamorada that used to operate the same way has been bought out and turned into a chain.

    I've never had a poor meal at Shulas and I even like Ruths Chris from time to time but I always try to remember that when we patronize those establishments instead of a local or independent operation we only keep the chain going.

  6. cheflayne


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    Professional Chef
    not trying to hijack the thread but
    maannnn... does that bring back memories!