I HAVEN’T STOPPED CRYING
I don’t understand the buzz about this place…it looks like just any other chain not trying to be a chain while tempting local customers into thinking that expensive prices equals good food. Sure the 1930′s ocean liner styling ambiance is delightful (hmmm…these beautiful plaster columns look familiar though…wait a minute…I’m sitting where the Clinique counter used to be in the old L.S. Ayres department store! I’m eating in a mall?) but it starts to feel cheap real quick with the lack of a dress code; jeans, shorts, t-shirts and ball caps (Im not kidding). I know this is the casual midwest but for god’s sake people, at least require business casual when you’re charging me $38 for Arctic Char…in fact…you MUST show me a high heel and a few sport jackets.
First impressions of the menu were good…fantastic looking raw bar, good minded ceviche and traditional caviar service…I think I’m gonna like this…uh…wait a minute…my waiter (who up until last month was a realtor) just asked me if tap water was ok. “Check please!”
The Tuna Tartare was lackluster and could have been helped with a crank of sea salt, a splash of citrus and a shot of spice (wasabi, soy, sriracha…anything boys). The purist in me tried again…but even the buttery, openly round taste of raw tuna was missing. What in the hell was I actually eating? Do they store their sashimi in water?
Round two…Maine Diver Scallops…one of my favorites (even though I know they are out of season) and something every chef likes to use because they (like lobster) speak beautifully for themselves. I ordered them suggesting the Chef’s best preparation and I have to admit I thought of nothing else for the next 20 minutes. My knees were bouncing…my eyes stuck on objects at the table as I day dreamed about them. “Maybe they’ll be floating in a light lobster and wine sauce…perhaps piled high on a small bunch of chanterelles or sea greens… or maybe stacked on a rutabaga purée with a touch of dijon?”
Finally our realtor (I mean waiter) rounded the corner, his arms piled high with dishes and proudly presented in front of me my…uh….I have no idea what he just put down infront of me.
My scallops smelled like seaweed, were smaller than expected, seared incorrectly and mixed into a bowl of marinated sliced skirt steak, a small handful of what I think were either marinated enoki or sea vegetables and tossed in a sticky sickeningly sweet brown sauce and served with bread (?). NO!!…it was absolutely revolting. I must have looked like I was about to cry since everyone at the table stopped looking at me and a strange hush came over them. I swallowed hard, took another bite and imagined I was required to eat it.
Third course? Dessert? (which mind you was a pull-off-the-top processed vanilla ice cream cardboard dixie cup with wooden spoon attached piece of crap served on a warmed plate…no…not a playful culinary amuse presentation of what I just described filled with maybe a french custard or a zabaglione, but the actual processed 49 cent hunk of crap manufactured by some new jersey company with freezer burn). uh…no thanks.