When will I ever learn to ignore S. Irene?
Yet again she has led readers astray with her favorable review of this latest restaurant-at-a-tiny-old-hotel-redone-for-cheap-and-reopened-for-expensive.
First of all, the rooms, like those at other hotels of this ilk (Maison 140, Viceroy, etc.) are TINY. You can't turn around in them. Who with a brain would stay at one of these hotels that combine the lack of frills of lower-grade lodging with the prices of higher-grade lodging?
But back to the restaurant, which also is tiny and lacks even the most basic element: a coherent spatial plan. You walk in and don't know whether you're in the hotel, the bar, or the restaurant, and the apparently brain-dead girls staffing each of the three aren't much help in clarifying matters.
Finally, you're seated and notice the typical Dodd Mitchell fireplace. It's a cold night, so you ask them to turn it on. They don't know how. Finally someone from downstairs gets it running. The waitress doesn't know whether the soup -- which she calls "puree cauliflower" -- has cream. She goes to ask the chef and "can't find him."
You start by splitting the coconut shrimp skewers. There are six tough shrimp skewers, some sauce drizzled on the plate that's both hard to get on the shrimp and not particularly redolent of coconut. Basically on the side and not integrated into the dish at all are some boring black beans with a tiny amount of pico de gallo. A ripoff at $17.
Next comes pistachio-crusted halibut, and a more flavorless fish there could not be. Friend and I both ordered it and neither of us ate half of ours. With it were some really tasteless "cheesy grits" (with no discernible evidence of cheese of any kind) and the blandest green beans I've ever encountered.
When the waitress sees our plates, and the fact that there's almost as much food on them as there was when she set them down, she says, "I'm sorry. I forgot to ask you guys if you wanted bread. Want some now?" We told her no thanks, just the check. With coffee for me and tap water for friend, $63 before tip.
This is yet another of those restaurants that you're supposed to enjoy because you've been told to, but you're not having a good time, the location itself (on the very eastern edge of BH with what friend called "a good view of city hall") is not conducive to having a good time, and the only people who appear to be having a good time are teenagers and early-twenties types in t-shirts that say "It's not you, it's me." (Predicate nominative, anyone?)
In short, it's another overpriced, underconceived restaurant that I must just be too old for -- and I'm 31.