Last night, my partner and I went to Caribou Cafe for dinner. Hadn't been there in a few years and we were both craving steak frites. We ordered two appetizers and both ordered onglet a l'echolote with frites as entrees. I wanted my onglet done medium and my partner asked for his medium-well. The waiter said, no, the chef prefers to keep it medium-rare or the meat will get tough. I was okay with that, my partner then asked for medium. Appetizers were excellent --salade de chevre and a delicious crabcake wrapped in a crust of what seemed like thin dough strips with the consistency of grated potato,then fried "tempura style" according to the menu.
After the appetizer plates were cleared, everything shifted to slow motion. Our waiter ignored us for 20 minutes then came by to tell us our entrees were on the way. 10 minutes later, he returned to remind us that our entrees were on the way. Finally they arrived. The meat was just barely beyond purple, and very sinewy -- hard to cut with the steakknife. So we had the waterboy flag down our waiter and asked for the meat to be cooked some more. Nearly 15 minutes later, the bartender came upstairs with our plates. Still, the meat was way too bloody for our tastes. Again, the waterboy found our waiter. We were told that's how the chef makes this dish. So we said, OK, take it back. We're done. So he cleared the table and asked if we'd like to see a dessert menu or have some coffee!
Sorry, but I'm not going to pay whatever amount of money for something that's not cooked how I ordered it just to appease a faceless chef. It's one thing to go to a restaurant and order a tasting menu where I willingly put myself into the chef's hands and just go with it -- then I'd expect to like some things and dislike others. But when I'm ordering off the menu and am asked how I want it prepared, only to be told this is how I will get it, I leave. Fortunately, we were not charged for the entrees. No visit by a manager. No offer to give us something else. So now where to go when I crave steak frites? I had a great one at La Boheme last week. Any other ideas?