I saw an ad for the new Gimaro's Steakhouse in Montgomeryviille. The menu looked good, plus I found a cupon for a free entree in the Clipper mag (I'm a sucker for a good cupon) so we thought we'd give it a try.
The restaurant opened 4 months ago and is in the location of a former Bennigan's. Well they never changed anything from when it was a Bennigans. The most they did was drape a plastic sign over the old Bennigan's sign. So, the doors say bennigans, the decor is still from Bennigans, right down to the last knick knack, there are even those fake tiffany style light fixtures that say bennigans. And neon beer signs everywhere! My husband and I were commenting that the bones of the building are not that bad, some decent woodwork. They just need to "de-junk" (is that a word?) the space and get rid of all of the old bennigan's stuff and beer signs, particularly if they are trying to market themselves as a steakhouse. Anyway, I digress....
We had an 8:00 reservation, arrive on time and notice a number of parties waiting. This was really odd because the restaurant looked only 25%-30% full. When we checked in with the hostess, she said we had a bit of a wait because the kitchen told her to stop seating people. Yikes.
We sat at the bar, the wine list was very limited, maybe only about 5 reds available and only by the glass. Of course the cabernet my husband ordered was not available so he just got a Mondavi. You would think that a steakhouse would offer some options by the bottle. Anyway. The bartender was great though, very friendly.
We finally got seated after around 20 minutes. The scene in the dining room was almost comical. There were only a handful of tables in our area, and the owner (or manager) was scrambling around to every single table, getting yelled at for the wait, apologizing, and offering comped dinners. I swear I was in an episiode of Kitchen Nightmares and expected that Gordon Ramsey was going to come out of the kitchen with some yellow tape and "Shut this place down"! At this point we would not even consider leaving, we were just there for the show!!
Our waiter came out, was extremely nice, but extremely frazzled because you could tell he was getting yelled at all night, and you could also tell he was really green. We still had drinks from the bar so I think he got confused as to what to say when he arrived at out table ("Oh no, I can't take their drink order, what do I do!!?"). We asked him to come back in a few minutes for our order and it took him a while to come back.
Anyway, we finally place our order. We got a red pepper hummus appetizer, I got a steak/salmon combo, and my husband got a ribeye. The entres come with a salad. Well, less than 5 minutes after we order, our entrees come out! No salad, no appetizer, nothing! We told our waiter and he apologized, removed the appetizer from our check, and brought out my salad so I had it with my dinner.
Here is the funny part, we got our entrees in 5 minutes in a room full of people complaining about how slow things were coming from the kitchen. We were eating at the same time as a couple sitting near up who I beleive were waiting for nearly an hour (I overheard their complaints to the manager/owner). The funniest part is that I was completely eavesedropping on the complaints (like I said, this was so entertaining) and the manager/owner said to a customer "These steaks are cooked to order, so for a steak to be done right expect it to take at least 20 minutes". Well ours came out in 5 minutes, so what does mean?
Anyway, the entress were supposed to come with mashed potatos and veggies and there were no veggies on the plate. So I tell the waiter and he brings me out a side plate of steamed broccoli. At this point, between my entree, the late salad plate, and the missing vegetable plate the table was overflowing. My husband's ribeye was way undercooked, came out bloody when he asked for medium. He actually seemed to really enjoy it though, he thought it was a great cut and was seasoned well (he is not the type to send something back to the kitchen). My salmon and steak dinner were pretty good too. I was shocked, maybe I was just expecting the worst. We decided not to stick around for dessert, and I think the waiter figured out that too because he never even gave up the option, just dropped off our check.
So, even with all of that, my husband said he does want to go back to give them another try after they sort through their growing pains. He really liked the steak, often has a problem that steaks are over salted. I'm a bit more skeptical myself, if it was just my decision we would not go back. But, it did seem like it was a locally owned place of people just trying to make a go of it, and although it was insanity there, everyone who worked there could not have been nicer. Its the kind of place you do want to succeed. And hopefully by then, they'll take all of the Bennigans decor down........