Went out with my friend to White Dog last night and was really disappointed.
I should start by saying that I checked out the full menu online and so knew exactly what to expect in terms of price and cuisine. Maybe I expected too much?
We had reservations for 8 and were promptly seated. Seemed to be staffed by alot of fairly young people (18-21ish). The place is very nice and well-decorated, but I had no idea it was so large.
Our server greeted us with a somewhat 'chain restauranty' "Welcome to the White Dog Cafe, my name is ***, may I start you off with a drink?" I'm usually not one for caring about this sort of thing, but her demeanor just seemed so out of place in the establishment. Oh well, moving on...
We started off with Chilled Lemon Pepper Grilled Calamari over Arugula Radicchio Salad for me and Roasted Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears and French Lentil Salad for my friend (quoted from menu). The calamari I had was neither chilled nor warm, just a misunderstood in-between. I didn't really like the dish even more so as the black olive vinaigrette was so absolutely overpowering I actually couldn't even finish it. My friend's Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus was better in taste, although the temperature was just awful. It too was just tepid.
Our entrees were Flame Roasted London Broil with Wild Mushroom-Worcestershire Glaze (quoted) and an Alaskan Haddock with Balmsamic glaze (not on the online menu). Both my friend and I agreed- these were the least flavorful dishes we've had in months while dining out. More than that, they were AGAIN both lukewarm. Very disappointing. The one good thing I can say is that the quality of the ingredients seemed very high- my steak was absolutely tender, there was a brightness and firmness about all of the vegetables we had, etc.
I understand that I was a Bad Chowhound (bad!) in that I didn't let our server know my displeasure at the meal (How can they improve what they don't know, right?) However, it's my opinion that a place that has been in such high regard for so long should really have their total act together at this point. Beyond that, I really just wanted to end the experience without any fuss.
I know it may have been an off night, we may have had a poor server, etc... but, I'm a first-impression kinda guy and there are plenty of other places I either love or I've yet to try in the city. It's safe to say I won't be returning anytime soon...