For the past five years or so i've made it a point to go to at least one restaurant week meal each season (Winter & Summer). I eat out a lot, I make it a priority to spend money on high-quality food, and I use the Restaurant Week promotion as an opportunity to try new places in the hopes that i find something interesting and tasty and will then go back for regular, non-Rest.Wk meals.
I used to love the experience! I felt that restaurants welcomed me as a first-timer, gave me a nice tasting of what they had to offer, and many of my earlier experiences made me a repeat customer at various places. HOWEVER, in the past two years I've seen this experience decline in a terrible way, and after my experience last night at Thalassa I can safely (and sadly) say that I believe what was great about the promotion has been snuffed out and I will no longer take part.
Our meal at Thalassa was mediocre at best. Once we asked for the restaurant week menu we were ignored for at least 15 minutes before i had to wave wildly to get a waiter to come take our order. We ordered an extra appetizer (asked for it to come before our rest.wk first courses) and a nice bottle of wine. The waiter brought the wine and then disappeared for the duration of our meal. The appetizer we ordered came WITH our first course; it was a cheese plate and the server just plopped it down and ran away as I pleaded after him "Can you tell us which cheese is which?!" He either didn't hear me or didn't care - the fact that i couldn't tell which was the case is enough of a problem right there.
Then our main courses came while we were still eating the appetizer and first course (a lobster bisque that was actually quite tasty, but unfortunately luke warm). I had the Lavraki fish which was supposed to come with "wilted organic greens" and a "kalamata olive risotto." Where to begin? Well, the fish was okay, though it was covered with so many capers and too much salt so i couldn't exactly tell you how the FISH tasted.
The wilted greens had been so overcooked that they had a bitter taste and looked horrendous. And the risotto was...depressing. It was a pile of white mush (no bite to the rice kernels, as there should always be with risotto) and instead of having a deep olive flavor it was painfully obvious that a few kalamata olives had been thrown in at the last minute.
The dessert was a walnut cake. It was okay, though nothing to write home about.
At the end of the meal we sat there for at least 15 more minutes, trying desperately to flag down a waiter to get our bill. When it finally came they brought these nice little boxes and announced that they were filled with "some little treats, on the house." This brightened my spirits a little bit, until i got home and discovered that inside the box were two of the most tasteless mini-cookies i'd ever tried, and a promotional leaflet about their Valentine's Day dinner specials.
I really am sad to see that this is what Restaurant Week has become. It was such a wonderful idea, and I had so many lovely experiences years ago, but after a handful of these types of evenings I am finished. I wonder why places even bother to take part in the promotion, if they're going to treat it as a burden and serve food of much lower quality than is on their regular menu (I've heard from friends that Thalassa has delicious food, regularly)? Instead of making me a repeat customer, I've been turned off of Thalassa for good, whereas if i had gone for a regular meal I bet I'd have enjoyed it. Seems to me they're working against themselves with this one.
Sorry about the long vent here, I just don't understand why it has to be this way. (And I won't go into a second rant, but the fact that these meals have escalated by over $10 in price over the past few years and declined as much in quality puzzles me even more.)