I was so excited to have RC's open in Calgary. Though I am an Alberta beef fan all the way...I never had a bad experience at RC's while living/touring throughout the USA. The steak I had in Washington's location while trapped during the blizzard of '96 was as good a piece of meat as anything we have here and it was cooked in such a unique way...crispy on the outside and pink and juicy on the inside...my mouth still waters. After sending many friends to the Edmonton location and hearing how much they all enjoyed it I was giddy as a kid on Christmas to try our Calgary locale...and then...like the Hindenburg, expectations evaporated right before my eyes.
After waiting for 15 minutes I finally flagged down a water boy to ask if he could get someone to serve us. Promptly a waiter I had watched serve all the tables around us popped by to apologize for the delay and indicated he would "take our table since no one else had"...a clear line of bullsh*t designed to deflect his own blindness for having walked past us several times. As we had waited for him we were able to rattle off our complete food and drink order at once. The wine we ordered showed up 10 minutes after he left with our orders (nice Zin, good price) and our appetizers showed up just afterwards. The crab cakes were excellent...and for $23 they had better be. The shrimp cocktail was also excellent. At least the food seemed to living up to its billing. The wine service was okay, no decanter nor an offer to decant...but I figured this guy was used to screw caps so I didn't bother...and I don't mean the screwcaps from good Aussie wines!
The waiter we had was clearly the village idiot in the place. Let's call him Biff. I watched Biff running from table to table while his peers seemed calm and collected which, given the atmosphere is exactly what is called for. Now the fun part, after our appetizers had been on our table for 5 minutes a food runner shows up with our mains. Totally unacceptable but he apologized and took our food back with no problems...except in my mind I wondered if my food was sitting under a heat lamp somewhere dying on the vine.
Biff shows up and apologizes for the mishap and explains that because the kitchen was having issues all night he put our main course order in at the same time as our appetizers because he believed these "delays" would have seen our food come out at the appropriate time. Nothing like throwing the kitchen staff under the bus. I am sure Biff is popular amongst his peers. In any case, this is a major screw up in my world. Nice work Biff.
We finish our appetizers and our table is cleared promptly. The food runner comes back with our food and does a nice job positioning our mushrooms, potatoes au gratin and steaks. The plates sizzle with butter and come out at 500 degrees but our steaks look dead. We both ordered the filet, medium rare. Mine is brown, all the way through. The other steak is cooked perfectly on the inside, but hardly looks broiled...which incidentally is what they are SUPPOSED to be famous for. Clearly one sat under a heat lamp, one came out fresh, but neither was broiled properly. For $48 a steak, they better be perfect...and they were far from it.
The sides were god awful. The potatoes were cold and the mushrooms either came out of a can or were somehow preserved given their rubbery texture and weak taste. Biff comes to ask how our food is 10 minutes later, I show him my steak and he offers to take it back...which is nice...but a dollar short and day late as the expression goes. At this point I feel physically ill....I have no idea why but I go to the restroom just in case my $23 crab cakes are coming back up...while I am away Biff HITS on my girlfriend! Can it get any better??
Rather than experiencing anymore we get the bill, get the hell outta dodge and finish our evening at Divino where Brad and Brian demonstrate to us what customer service is all about. Thanks Ruth's Chris....did I mention it was my birthday? There may come a day when I go back, and that would be the day that drinking wine with Little Penguins on the bottle is something I crave. Their motto is an "Adventure in Flavor"...it was an adventure alright...just like the Hindenburg. Worst value I have experienced in Calgary this year.
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