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Restaurants & Bars 43

Cafe Rouge (Berkeley) - A Cautionary Tale

Jon Parker | May 11, 200504:05 PM

My folks came to visit from the East Coast this weekend and wanted to take my wife and me to dinner. We chose Cafe Rouge because we thought it would do a good job, that there would be nice steaks for Dad (as suggested by the butcher shop downstairs) and that it would not break the bank. When the folks offer to pay, we try to protect them from exploitation. Full disclosure, we had only ever been there for lunch before.

We brought our own wine to save money and crack the first of the 2000 Bordeaux. When we looked at the menu, I was very embarassed to find that, while most entrees were $17-18, the only steak was served with fries and priced at $33. I know that dry aged steak is expensive and that there is loss there, blah blah blah. But the pricing is so out of whack with the rest of the menu that it was a real downer. To top it all off, the steaks were too rare and not as tender as we expected.

Everything else was excellent: great oysters, Mom's squab risotto, all the desserts and even the service was great. But when you get the bill and you feel taken advantage of...well that's the memory you leave with. Too bad.

A ribeye purchased at Ver Brugge and grilled at home is infinitely better and cheaper. Shame on Cafe Rouge.

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