My mother always told me, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." On that theory, I'll try to keep this brief.
The Chisholm Club--Grady Spears's new restaurant on the ground floor of the Worthington in Fort Worth--is an attractive looking restaurant. Tans and rusts, warm lights, tasteful "cowboy culture" embellishments.
So much for the "nice." Apart from some tasty mashed potatoes accompanying their ribeye, every bite of food that touched our table was mediocre. Appetizers and entrees (mostly ordered on the basis of waiter recommendations) were so discouraging that, while ordinarily I live for dessert, I didn't even bother sampling the pastry chef's offerings. By mediocre, we're talking "Star Canyon in its last gasps after the departure of both Pyles and Dunn" mediocre. (But even that comparison fails, since Star Canyon could still pull off the signature ribeye as the windows were being shuttered.) At one point, my sister asked, "Is it wrong to say that a $30 steak is just so-so?"
The food was mediocre. But the service we had was bad. I requested a glass of water without ice. I was brought a glass of water with ice, which was replaced only after I brought it to the waiter's attention. Shortly thereafter, when he came to fill it (personally, as there's no brigade system in place), he allowed a handful of ice cubes to slip in, remarking, "I got a few in there, but that's okay." Another server came by later, adding a substantial amount of ice. And when our waiter again refreshed my glass (which was almost half full of ice, by that point), he added more ice (though this time without the self-excusing comment).
My sister, who ordered the beef tenderloin, was presented with lamb chops. When she alerted the waiter to this, he asked, "Are you sure you ordered the beef tenderloin?" (When he took the order, he asked if she minded having the tenderloin butterflied--an odd request, if he thought she was ordering lamb chops.) She assured him that the beef tenderloin was what she ordered. He took the plate. Eighteen minutes later (by my watch), he returned with her tenderloin. (Long waits were common over the course of the meal.) By then, my entree had settled to room temperature.
Neither of us ate more than a third of our entrees. When we asked for boxes, the waiter didn't bother to inquire as to why we'd eaten so little. When we tried to leave, we had to go inside to request the services of the valet, who was flirting with the greeters.
Dinner for two, with no drinks or desserts: a hair over $80. Two hours, from seating to walking out the door. Usually I like to visit a restaurant a few times before posting impressions of it here. Not this time. Once was enough. I hope others have better luck than we did.
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