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Monday night chefs-- not quite a downhill report

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Monday night chefs-- not quite a downhill report

joel | Nov 20, 2001 10:29 AM

Situation-- two business friends from Texas are in town last night (Monday) and want to eat well, and then be able to to talk for a while after dinner. I choose Harvest on Huron where I have never had a meal that didn't knock my socks off.

The ordering gets off to a hilarious start, when the two Texans order ice tea (the king of dinner beverages in Texas-- just good ol' Lipton and sugar by the gallon.) The waitress asks something like, "Would you prefer the darjeeling cinammon limonata or the raspberry aspic herbal?" Their stares last a good minute. She finally says she'll just bring one of each, and then makes a flourish of opening two liqueur-style bottles and decanting them into wine glasses.

Texan numero uno has to send back his steak twice, because it's undercooked. (I can't really blame the chef for this one, but the order was firmly placed as very well-done. What can one say?) Texan numero dos has no taste buds and just picks at everything since it all looks so terribly unfamiliar.

None of this was my problem however. Mine was the seared tuna appetizer, so overly soy-salted that no other flavors could come through. And then a venison whose flavors and sauce were just old and tired. One of the side accompaniments on the plate was also nothing like what was described, and when I finally asked what it was, the waitress had to scurry back to the kitchen to ask. She reports that yes, an odd barley concocted substitution was made, but she'd be happy at that point to bring me any other side dish I wanted.

Is there a Monday night syndrome at some restaurants, when the first-string chef is off? What is the appropriate response in a case like this? Write a letter, call the next day? The business nature of the dinner precluded any kind of direct statement, at that moment.

I hope this post has been sufficiently politically incorrect for the group. Although in the interests of full disclosure, I have to admit that my Texas birthright probably makes it a little bit less so.

joel

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