I really don’t quite know what I want to do with a personal blog so instead of actually doing much, I just keep starting new ones. I think this is going to have to be the one that ‘sticks’.
I was just sitting here thinking about how a Chicago restaurant messed up Don’s birthday–at least for me. I took him out thinking that any restaurant Roland Liccioni was a partner in should be really wonderful. NOT. Here’s a copy of the letter I am sending.
On Saturday, June 28, I took my husband out for a birthday dinner. He chose Old Town Brasserie for several reasons. He liked the review in Chicago magazine and we’ve eaten at Le Francaise and Le Nomade when you were chef (both times that you were at Le Francaise) and the dinners we had were fantastic. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case here.
We were seated promptly and given menus. Our waiter #41, Mark, asked us if we’d like a drink. We hadn’t had time to open the wine list yet but we looked quickly and ordered a glass of wine each. He got the wine, brought it back and immediately asked if we were ready to order. Uhhh…we still haven’t got our menus open yet, so no, give us a minute or 10. My husband asked about specials and was told that they were listed in the middle of the menu. There was no explanation of anything, just that they were listed. He did then eventually ask us if we had any questions.
We placed our order and looked at the wine list for a bottle for dinner. We were almost finished with out appetizers before Mark ever came back to see if we needed anything to actually drink with those appetizers. My husband asked him if he could tell him about one of the wines we were thinking of ordering. I am still astounded at his answer. He told my husband that because he didn’t drink wine, he didn’t know anything about them. And then he stood there waiting for us to order. My husband asked him several times if he could possibly get someone who DID know something about wine to come and help us. He finally, reluctantly, asked someone for advice but never really seemed to have a clue about the wine, and the description offered was minimal at best. Fortunately we were given a bottle of wine that we liked, no thanks to him.
I was disappointed in my appetizer. I got the lobster ravioli and it was so over spiced that all I could taste was the spice and the lemongrass. The lobster got lost somewhere in all of that. My husband loved his fois gras even though he was never offered a glass of sauterne with it. He got the veal loin special and also enjoyed that, although it was closer to ‘medium’ rather than the requested ‘medium-rare’. I ate most of the sweetbreads and thought they were wonderful. I got the tournedos and was disappointed again. I asked for the meat to be cooked medium and it was well. I would assume that medallions would be cut against the grain into little rounds but this was just a hunk of meat on the plate cut with the grain so it was dry and stringy. The rest of the food on the plate was perfect and delicious. By the time our waiter returned to see how things were, I just decided I wouldn’t say anything. My mistake.
We normally share desert but since it was a special occasion (or at least supposed to be one) we decided to get two deserts. My husband got the profiteroles and I got the crème brulee. The profiteroles were wonderful. The crème brulee was the worst I’ve ever had. I took one bite and it tasted of raw egg yolks. I sent that back.
We finished with coffee, which was delicious. I love your coffee cups! I asked for a second cup of coffee. There was only about ½ cup left and Mark never returned to give me any more.
It was also very hot and muggy with the windows open in the front and no air movement in the back of the restaurant.
I was very, very disappointed in the service that we received. I was also pretty unhappy with the food. We went here to celebrate a special occasion and instead not only got nothing special, but also got something that came nowhere near our expectations. I just can’t believe that someone who ran Le Francaise and Le Nomade with such perfection can tolerate this. I find it hard to find anything positive to say about Old Town Brasserie.
If I had to sum up the service that we had at your restaurant in one word, it could only be ‘indifferent.’
Can you tell I wasn’t happy. I mean for a few hundred bucks it should be a little better than that!
Tonight will be yummm though. I am making a bit pot of pinto beans and tacos carne asada. The meat is marianating right now. It’s a really odd color green marinade but is sure tastes good anyway. I’m so going to regret this whole week when I go to Weight Watcher’s tomorrow.
I finally convinced Don that I need a torch here. I’m not going to start me set up in the basement until I fulfill my part of the deal I made with him but I’m going to use the Hot Head out on the deck. He seems to think that I’m going to have a fabulously wonderful time torching with a HH on a windy deck. LOL Shows what he knows about it. Maybe a few times of that will speed up my end of the bargain.
Is anyone else feeling like the summer is going by too fast? There are so many things I want to get done and just don’t seem to finish any of it. Hell, I don’t even get most of it started. Menopause is turning my brain to mush, I think.
Off to stir the beans. Hope everyone is having a great day so far!
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