Sub Sub Par Dining Experience

Okay, I started having a Carrie Bradshaw moment during dinner at a neighborhood “fine dining” establishment with my parents. I do everything I  can to keep my mouth shut about the food at restaurants like that but it seems every time that I go out to dinner with either my parents or the inlaws there is something HORRIBLY wrong with the food.

Last time the snapper special was SO awful I couldn’t have more than half a bite, over salted, Sysco prestuffed with god knows, and not the description on the menu. The sauce wasn’t the same, etc. It was obvious, and fortunately or not, that I couldn’t force myself through it, so it became obvious that there was something wrong. A few more things happened that night, but I digress.

Tonight, different restaurant, different set of parents, same situation. The wine was hot, not just alcohol hot but you could litterally feel heat eminating from the glass. The “charcuterie” platter was slabs of meat with dill pickle slices from a jar, and then my hangar steak, which was ordered Mid Rare, was done done done. Murdered. I told them I’d hang onto the plate so that I could snack on the asparagus and fries (I was offered ketsup) and had them take the meat back as proof. I did this sheepishly after our server asked for it. I’m also the type of person that understands that sometimes a hair will inevitably make it onto a plate. It could be the farmer’s in a bed of greens or it could be an Emo kid in the back with no self regard. Tonight it was the latter and it happened twice. The first time resulted in me smacking a fry out of my husbands mouth and then him smacking a slice of the newly cooked hangar out of mine. Really?!

When I asked for an ice bucket for the RED wine the lady asked the busser loudly to get me one, like I was the most eccentric person to ever walk through the door. It still took close to 15 minutes to get it just under room temperature.

Desserts were right on par withthe rest of the experience, except worse. The boxed Bisquik mix on top of “cherries” that was doctored with an explosive amount of cinnamon, had my husband asking what the chemical taste was.

So. Obviously I didn’t agree to the dinner out of excitement and anticipation for the food, although I had heard really good things. I am very honest about my expectations. I have the same level of standards for McDonalds as I do for the French Laundry. I don’t expect boxed couscous with flavor packets, I don’t expect the chef to improperly cook a piece of sub par meat, I don’t expect attitude form the server. I was so distracted by the blatant falsification of the food I couldn’t stay in any of the conversations. I was ashamed, I felt guilty, and then it made me angry. How can you charge for food like that? How can you take short cuts like that? How when you pick up a bottle of wine do you not notice it’s the same temperature as your morning latte? I’m upset with myself for writing this, I’m worried that my dinner company might read it. I don’t want to have to order things from the menu that I know will be “safe.” Why should I suffer because I can’t necessarily distinguish whether they are using marjoram or oregano, but I can sure as hell taste sodium dyglyceride?

What I really wanted to do was march in the kitchen, show the chef how to temper a steak, then how to mark and finish it, slice it AGAINST the grain, and then plate it with the components that are actually listed on the menu. I wanted to pull a Gordon Ramsey with the desserts, throwing them against the back wall and yelling that they’re F ing Rubbish! Then turn to the Emokid and shout and point “And you!” as I pull his hair to the cutting board. I wanted to leave my card and suggest wine training. But most of all I wanted to enjoy the company, sip a decent wine, and eat dinner. I didn’t want to be a pain in the ass because everything was sub subpar.

Tell me, what would you do?

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3 Responses to “Sub Sub Par Dining Experience”

  1. Dude. It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one going through these episodes. It really sucks that so many places have crap food, crap service, yet the average diner still raves about it, and somehow the restaurant stays afloat forever. I usually stay calm/quiet as well, but peeps know I’m a food snob, and Paul, he’s worse. He refuses to eat Sushi in Puerto Rico. That’s how bad it’s gotten. 🙂 LOL! Most of the time people say, “Isn’t this GREAT?!” And I just nod, flash a great smile, and chew.

  2. My friend, food is crap all over. In my small beach town, there is one decent restaurant, four acceptable ones and a host of sub sub par joints posing as eateries. I prefer to cook at home with a certain someone who has worked in the food industry and will send things back and with a kind voice, let the manager know that s/he is not doing to well. When with others, we suck it up unless it’s egregious, since complaining spoils more than food, but on our own, I pay good money and expect a meal commensurate with the price point. On the other hand, an In N Out burger done Animal Style is always good.

    Cheers Hon.

  3. Hey! The more I know about food the less I enjoy eating out. And, I’ve got a whole new set of places to figure out now. On thursday, I was driving back from Dobbs Ferry and stopped at a rest area on the Thruway…invitation for lousy food, but didn’t expect much more. Ended up eating a worse than lousy cheese pizza but the service was GREAT! I ignored the quality of the food and just praised the staff to the manager for such great and friendly service.

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