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Chiado/Senhor Antonio report - long

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Chiado/Senhor Antonio report - long

Kate1 | Jan 4, 2006 08:33 AM

A Portuguese friend of mine wanted to check out Chiado's, but due to the high prices of the menu, we decided we really only wanted the Senhor Antonio's menu. Due to the confusions expressed by other posters on the board at actually getting the Senhor Antonio menu, we called to get the scoop and were told that we could make reservations for Chiado's on a weeknight and order off the tapas menu instead of the Chiado menu. This seemed like a better idea than taking our chances that a bar seat would be open (no reservations permitted at the bar).

We arrived for our 8:30 reservation for 4 people on a weekday to find the place only about 20% full. We were promptly seated and given drinks. The wine list is moderately priced but the wines by the glass are all priced in the $10 range. as are the cocktails. This seems a bit high to me. We were also offered olives and bread, only to find out later (and not from our waiter) that there is a $5 charge for them.

Our waiter, when asked a few simple questions on the menu told us that he was not familiar with the tapas menu since it is not normally served in Chiado. I have no idea what he meant, but his comment seemed unneccessary and unhelpful. When we asked about the $40 tapas tasting mentioned on the menu, he dissuaded us from ordering it, saying that he disliked people complaining when they didn't like a tasting item they received (the tasting is 4 courses of the chef's choice). Again, unneccessary and unhelpful unless you know your diner's preferences. In fact, three of the four of us were very adventurous diners and would have eaten whatever we were given. But, we took the server's cue and ordered off the menu instead.

Heeding the warning on this board that the $12 "grilled shrimp" dish was a single shrimp, we confirmed with the waiter that this was in fact the case and didn't order it. We ended up ordering: the bean and rapini casserole; the mushroom risotto; 2 orders of the grilled chorizo; the squid; the clams and the goat cheese. Our waiter suggested that this would be a good start and we could order more food later if we needed it. I should mention that our server did dissuade us from ordering several specific menu items, saying they weren't really fresh that day. While I appreciate the guidance, it seemed odd that the restaurant didn't simply let us know they were out of a few things up front.

All the items we ordered came out at the same time and were excellent. The flavouring was unique in each dish. The chorizo dish included both regular and "black" chorizo, which we had never tasted before. The risotto was fantastic with a really rich taste - probably a good veal stock base. The fish was all extremely fresh. No complaints whatsoever.

Luckily, that amount of food was just about enough, since at 9:40pm the waiter came by to ask us if we wanted anything else and tell us that the kitchen closed at 9:30pm. We looked over at the kitchen to see that the crew had just about completed their cleanup and were getting ready to leave. It was pretty obvious that even if we wanted anything else, we weren't getting it. We probably would have ordered a couple of other dishes and perhaps a dessert, had we really been given the opportunity. I find it ridiculous that the restaurant would take an 8:30 reservation and then close the kitchen at 9:30 without even mentioning it to us. Our server was not rude in any way, was even chatty and affable at times, and offered coffee and more wine, but it was clear that we were not getting any more food.

The bill for 4 people came to $220 including one round of drinks, a $50 bottle of wine, and the above-mentioned food. It was certainly a reasonable price given the quality of the dining. However, I would not likely return based on the attitude of the restaurant. They just didn't seem to want the business, and we continually got the feeling that we needed to accommodate them - not the other way around. Further, taking an 8:30 reservation when you are planning to close the kitchen at 9:30 is just plain stupid. They should have informed us of that when we reserved - we would have come earlier had we known their constraints.

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