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Long rant on restaurant food…are we pathetic?

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Long rant on restaurant food…are we pathetic?

LizR | Aug 15, 2004 12:20 AM

Ok, so we spent the last two evenings visiting Nashville relying on Chowhound recs for dinner. Unfortunately both Zola and the Capitol Grille disappointed big time. Zola was inordinately salty, overly rich, sometimes just grim, ‘nuff said ($115 for two). Capitol Grille was just ok, but not nearly worth the $225 we spent for the two of us. Briefly, although the chef at Capitol Grille seems to have some sort of French Laundry connection (perhaps that in-and-of itself is over-rated), the soup pairings were redundant and overly rich, the potato puree was plated too early and formed a skin, the lamb was raw although ordered medium rare (don’t even ask about the two times we politely sent it back for correct cooking), and the “foraged” mushroom “tartlet” consisted of some morels, chanterelles and a bunch of button mushrooms served on a “shell” that, by the time it reached us, resembled a raw piece of pizza dough. Plus, it seemed that if you are a white wine drinker, you rated the Red Lobster glasses that were on the table at the time of your seating, whereas when we ordered a glass of red wine we got a decent glass, i.e. without the pressed hexagonal stem.

Don’t get me wrong, we really wanted to like both of these places. We like to think of ourselves as true chowhounds who are as comfortable at a roadside eatery as a high end establishment. Problem is, we keep on finding ourselves disappointed, especially at the higher end places. These, and other recent experiences, have left us pondering the last truly good meal that we have paid for that seems worth it, whether high end or not. Short summary: food at most places seems either boring, too over the top, poorly executed, or just plain bad. Vanity aside, we are beginning to think that we can pretty much make a lot of these dishes better and for less money at home. Are we helplessly snobby and out of touch or has anybody else had the same sort of experiences? When was the last time that you really had some great food at a restaurant that seemed worth it? What was it and where do you live? Last really great thing we had was a $4 gyro in Chicago…fantastic.
When is good food ever THAT good? Does it have to be a $4 sandwich that you don’t expect to be blown away by? Does going into a high end restaurant set up your expectations too much to ever meet them? Is it just us? Help

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