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Dinner experience and "what to do" next time...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi to all!

 

There are few question raised after my dinner last night at an Italian restaurant.

1. Bread (Olive oil bread dip) was cold. Everywhere I was dinning before I would always get, if not hot than nice warm bread. This one was cold. Did I miss something?

2. I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir and what I got was something sweet-ish. I'm not vino expert to be able recognize wine at the first look. But,even I ask the waitress if she can check if I really got wine I asked for, and she said "Yes" - what then to do? Ask for the bottle and compare? I don't want to pay $36 for a whole bottle to be sure I'll get what I want but I also don't want to pay for something I didn't order. Do I have to go next time with bottled beer with my swordfish? I know it's not common to get cheap wine instead the one you ordered, but how to prevent such a situation?

3. "Today's Special" was swordfish and I ordered it. I heard/read/watched so many times to NOT order daily special because in lot of cases it's actually food they have to get rid off ASAP. As Chef Symon said once "We have 400 pounds of shrimps. Run shrimps as special!!!". But I ordered it anyway to compare their swordfish with mine. I made several times swordfish and never was happy with result. But it was worse than mine. No golden crust or any other sign of frying or searing. White, watery, barely warm (while the plate was HOT), some parts salty while some not... Looks a lot like freshly prepared by Chef M(icrowave)... I would like to hear your opinion on Today's Special?
 

post #2 of 13
As for the bread, I suppose it's up to the restaurant, but who doesn't like nice warm fluffy bread to get their appetite going.

As for the wine, it's hard to find a good, complex pinot noir at that price point. Most will tend to taste flat, sweet, and overly fruit forward.

Me personally, if it's my first time to a place I stick to the menu. Work through a few items and get a feel for what the place does good, and not so good, or at least for my palate. Generally the next time in if a special really catches my ear I'll go for it.

That being said I do work in a quite nice international restaurant, we run specials every night. Often $40 for an 8oz potion of fish. The special often includes ingredients held daily in the kitchen, simply prepared with a unique sauce for that day. If the sauce isn't used, it'll usually wind up in the sdj the next day. Small place with a great chef, 35+ years cooking at a very high level.

So, I'd say, specials really come down to the ex. Chef and how he purchases, prepares, and markets his specials to the staff.
post #3 of 13

Afan, it sort of sounds to me that you may not want to go back to this particular restaurant ?

post #4 of 13

I'm with K-girl. No next time for this place.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #5 of 13

If everyone with experiences like this does not go back, they wont be there long anyway.

CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #6 of 13

Bread - bread does not have to be hot/warm to be good.  I've been to many good restaurants that serve bread that is not warm and it's still delicious.  I think that's a matter of personal preference but as long as it tastes good and the olive oil is good then what's the problem?

 

Wine - if you don't like it send it back.  Judge the restaurant, not the wine. You ordered it, they brought you what they had.  They weren't purposefully trying to serve you something you don't like.  You almost make it seem like they were lying to you about what kind of wine it was.  Tell them you don't like it and they will take it back and offer you something else instead.

 

Swordfish - was the fish described on the menu as having a golden crust?  Were you expecting it to be fried or seared?  A description like "worse than mine" is vague at best.  How was it described on the menu as opposed to what you received?  Could you have sent it back?  Swordfish does need to rest a moment after it has been cooked and it does cool down.

 

Lastly, pairing a rich wine like pinot noir with fish may have been a poor decision.  I'm not a wine expert at all, but I pair pinot noir with heavy meat dishes like lamb or beef.  Maybe it was the pairing that made the flavors seem off to you.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #7 of 13

About the bread, I agree with Koukouvagia.  First of all, bread to dip in oil is generally cold, or toasted (such as bruschetta).  Also, if it's served hot in some places, could it be that it's just been reheated?  You can't possibly make decent bread and have it ready to take out of the oven for every customer.  Some breads, and particularly those that are suited to dipping in olive oil, require long slow rising, and are always made in advance. 

Of course, if you're going to put butter on it, warm bread is really nice, but it's a different thing.

For me, warm soft breads, and cold rough breads ("artisan" type). 

That said, any bread warm from the oven is heavenly, but you can't possibly time it like that in a restaurant i think. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxaaronb View Post

As for the wine, it's hard to find a good, complex pinot noir at that price point. Most will tend to taste flat, sweet, and overly fruit forward.
 

 

My point was I got different (probably cheaper) wine then I ordered. I know the wine I ordered (I don't want to name it) is the best but it would fit me the best at the moment.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxaaronb View Post

Me personally, if it's my first time to a place I stick to the menu. Work through a few items and get a feel for what the place does good, and not so good, or at least for my palate. Generally the next time in if a special really catches my ear I'll go for it.
Good point. That's what I was asking for, suggestion for nest time. Thanks.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohegirlinaz View Post

Afan, it sort of sounds to me that you may not want to go back to this particular restaurant ?

No, it doesn't mean. People make mistakes. We are all human beings. I don't discard people after one misstake.

I'll go again (not sure when though :) ) and if it happens again then... :D

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

Bread - bread does not have to be hot/warm to be good.  I've been to many good restaurants that serve bread that is not warm and it's still delicious.  I think that's a matter of personal preference but as long as it tastes good and the olive oil is good then what's the problem?

Bread was fresh,out of question. But it will test better if it was warm. But, as you said, personal preferences...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

Wine - if you don't like it send it back.  Judge the restaurant, not the wine. You ordered it, they brought you what they had.  They weren't purposefully trying to serve you something you don't like.  You almost make it seem like they were lying to you about what kind of wine it was.  Tell them you don't like it and they will take it back and offer you something else instead.

I wanted to say that I think I didn't get wine I ordered. That's all. But it's hard to me prove it. No, I didn't returned... I don't know why but I feel bad if I try to return these kind of things...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

Swordfish - was the fish described on the menu as having a golden crust?  Were you expecting it to be fried or seared?  A description like "worse than mine" is vague at best.  How was it described on the menu as opposed to what you received?  Could you have sent it back?  Swordfish does need to rest a moment after it has been cooked and it does cool down.

The swordfish was "Today's Special" and weitress told me. I don't remember I saw it on the menu... I assumed... But assumed wrong. :)

post #11 of 13

About "Today's Special"  I never thought of it as something the kitchen needs to get rid of.  I always thought it was something that the chef found specially at the market that day for that specific purpose. 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

About "Today's Special"  I never thought of it as something the kitchen needs to get rid of.  I always thought it was something that the chef found specially at the market that day for that specific purpose. 

That's what I was thinking and that's what would I do if I'm a Chef and have a restaurant. But I heard it several times from the people "in the business". Last time from Chef Michael Symon on The Chew (http://abc.go.com/watch/the-chew/SH55125610/VD55289177/the-chew-319 , skip to 4:45).

post #13 of 13

My wife was in the restaurant biz for 12 years - administration, not operations.  She ran the office staff that supported a chain of 26 Sizzler and Dock's  restaurants in Chicago and suburbs. It was axiomatic with the owners and the operating people that, if you had a good restaurant experience, you might well come back, but probably wouldn't talk much about it

 

If you had a bad experience, they were convinced, not only would you never come back to that restaurant, but you would make it a point to tell all your friends about what happened.  It's certainly the way we have always behaved. True or not, that belief kept them all on their toes.

 

A few years later, the two owners retired, selling the chain to a guy who cut the meat cost (they had had their own central butchering facility) and slashed operating costs.  Within two years, they were all closed.

 

Mike

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