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SD Restaurant Week - JRDN - great meal, poor service (LONG!)


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SD Restaurant Week - JRDN - great meal, poor service (LONG!)

YaYa77 | Jan 18, 2006 12:35 PM

Along with another couple, my fiancé and I went to RW highly anticipating the menu. The food was great, but the service was poor – I will elaborate on that later. Below are my comments on the chow:


Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes-Kaffir-lime aioli and mache salad

The crab cake was composed of large pieces of fresh crabmeat, lightly fried and bursting with flavor. My fiancé and one dining partner ordered this and I was fortunate enough to have a taste of this excellent crab cake. My fiancés comment was “very tasty, nice presentation, portion barely there.”

Baked Humboldt Fog Cheese-Topped with sautéed domestic mushrooms, tomato coulis and levian toast

Humboldt Fog cheese has been on my “top 5” cheese rotation for the past 6 months so this was a must for me. One dining partner also ordered this app. The dish was composed of approx. one tablespoon of cheese, and two one-and-a-half inch pieces of levian toast lightly crisped with the tiniest bit of cheddar cheese on top. It was accompanied by about one tablespoon of mushrooms. The flavors complimented each other perfectly, and the mushrooms were sautéed to perfection. An excellent dish which we both enjoyed it immensely.


Pan seared "dry" scallops-Dungeness crab, artichoke rusotto and meyer lemon beurre blanc

Our non-meat eating dining partner ordered this. It consisted of ONE scallop on approximately 1/4 cup of risotto. None of us tried it because we didn’t want to take away from her miniature meal. She had rave reviews and her only complaint was that there was not more of it. This was her first aged scallop and she said it was sweeter than a regular scallop.

Grilled Filet Mignon-6 oz. Meyer Ranch beef, lobster twice-baked potato, organic spinach, natural bacon and smokey cabernet sauce

Two of us ordered this dish. The filet was grilled to perfection. It was very tender and well presented. The accompanying cabernet sauce was light and not too smokey, and the spinach was tender and flavorful with the addition of the small cubes of bacon. The twice baked potato was disappointing. It was very dry, and the only indication that it had lobster was a slight fishy taste now and then. Aside from the baked potato, I would highly recommend this dish.

Duck Breast-Pan seared breast, herbed polenta cake with lychee and plum sauce

My fiancé ordered this dish and was pleased. Three ounces of duck breast was presented in thin slices lightly drizzled in sauce and was the best duck dish we have had to date in SD. Not the least bit fatty and the lychee and plum sauce was out of this world! Highly recommend.


Tower 23 Chocolate Bar

Dessert was a small piece of chocolate “cake.” There was no description of what kind, or what it was composed of and our server failed to inform us of what it was. I believe it was a layer of hazelnut “crisp” (for lack of a better word) topped with a layer of decadent chocolate cake (flourless perhaps? the word for this type of cake isn’t coming to me right now) and lightly sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts and bits of dark chocolate. It was paired with a blueberry, half of a blackberry and the plate was drizzled with about ½ tsp of caramel sauce, I think, I couldn’t get enough of it to decipher the flavor. Needless to say, it was excellent, I am not a hazelnut fan and even I enjoyed it.

Now, on to the “service.” After we were seated we waited quite a while before someone greeted our table (note that the restaurant was not busy at this time), we looked around for a bit trying to find a server and were about to flag someone down when finally we were greeted.

We were then presented with a wine list, but no martini list which after we requested it, arrived crusted with old food, which was pretty unappetizing. After taking our drink order, a different server came to take our food order with the comment that the last server would not be helping us anymore, she would from this point forward.

First, there was zero description of the menu or recommendations from our server, not what I expect from a restaurant that considers itself upscale. From the next table over who arrived afterwards, we learned that the RW menu has much smaller portions than normal (to be expected but would have been nice to have been told) and some interesting details about the food on the RW menu.

Furthermore, every table EXCEPT for ours received some sort of tasting from the chef. I have no idea what it was, but it was uncomfortable being the only table not receiving the same level of service, despite the fact that everyone in our general vicinity was participating in RW.

Our server was so inattentive that it’s hard for me to pinpoint one particular thing that made us feel as if we were an annoyance to her the entire time we where there. Perhaps it was the lengthy conversations she had with every table around us, providing them with a tasting from the chef, describing the menu in depth, bantering, and constantly checking on their every need while she would stop by our table as an afterthought with an insincere “can I get you anything?” Perhaps it was the fact that our drinks ran out and we were asked if we wanted anything further 5 minutes after the fact, while she was constantly keeping other’s glasses full. Perhaps it was the fact that we were asked if we would like an espresso, when we were almost completely finished with our desserts. One friend commented that it was her opinion that since we didn’t order one of the $70 bottles of wine off the menu, and instead went with glasses of wine and martinis, we were less important than other customers because that is honestly what it seemed like.

Whatever the reason, I’ve only gotten a reaction like this from one other restaurant which happened to be on the other side of the country, and it’s enough to make me not want to go back, despite the fact that the food was fabulous!

On a scale of 1-10 I give the food an 8 only because of the portion size. From what I have heard, this is not just something that has to do with RW and their portions are generally very small.

On a scale of 1-10 I give the service a 2, though I’m sure the diners receiving superior service around us last night would have a different take on things.

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