(The names have been changed to protect the innocent...)
As some of you desert rats know, I totally forgot [my wife's] birthday on Saturday on the first day of our big Sun City golf tournament (for the second year in a row). In a clumsy attempt to make up for that, I made reservations at the [palm springs restaurant], a restaurant that [my wife] had been wanting to try. We went there last night and the experience was such that I thought warnings to all would be justified.
[Palm Springs Restaurant] is a very nice looking place both inside and outside. They have a piano player who has enough sense to avoid singing and mostly plays quiet stuff. We were well greeted at the door and given our choice of places to sit so we selected a quiet spot. We had already studied their menu via the internet so it didn't take long for us to make our choices. We both asked for the "soup of the day" (clam chowder) and then [my wife] asked for the ahi and I selected the special for the day, halibut. Both of those choices were risky given that it was a Monday (never order fish on a Monday). The chowder was excellent and so was the bread selection. When the main courses arrived the ahi was cooked properly (hardly at all) and neatly stacked against a scoop of mashed potatoes with some sort of dark colored sauce drizzled around the periphery of the plate. [My wife] loved the dish and after eating a sample of it I had to admit that it was very good, even though I don't much care for ahi.
My dish is the main reason for this missive. The waiter had described my dish as pan fried halibut with roasted potatoes. The creation that arrived at our table bore no resemblance to that. It actually took a while for me to identify all the stuff on the plate. The halibut was hiding under a stack of flowery looking mushrooms that resisted being cut by either my fork or knife (shitake), so I scraped them out of the way. The main accompaniment, the roasted potatoes, were swimming in a sauce that reeked of garlic. I tried one and decided that it in no way complimented the very delicate taste of halibut. In the middle of the dish was a big scoop of cooked spinach (ugh, and double ugh). I love fresh spinach but when you cook the stuff it turns into a bitter, slimy mess. To make matters worse, the spinach was also loaded with garlic. I did finally manage to quarantine the fish and eat it. It was okay but nothing to get excited about. Basically, it was a little piece about half the size of what you would get in a place like [Great Seafood Restaurant] or [Internationally Famous Hawaian Restaurant]. In short, it was not a thirty dollar plate.
After the bus boy picked up our plates, with mine looking like I hadn't touched anything, the maitre d' came by to ask if we liked our meals. Since he asked, I told him and he immediately responded by indicating that they would take my meal off the bill. Then a big burly guy came over (the manager?) and asked what was wrong with my meal, and I told him. After that, we endured a very long wait, hoping that they would eventually bring the desert menus by. What did finally arrive was the bill. Apparently, they assumed that because we were unhappy with one of our meals we would not want any desert. I think they also wanted us to leave to avoid any other patrons hearing about our problem.
So, mixed bag. One very good meal, one very strange meal, and somewhat indifferent service. [My wife] might want to give them a second chance but I'm inclined to wait a long time before returning.
P.S. For (son) --you know how sensitive I am to garlic but I don't really hate the stuff. I just don't think that it goes well with delicate fish like halibut. [My wife's] dish had some garlic in the sauce but it was well balanced and complimentary.