I went with my husband and a couple of friends to Timothy Dean Bistro last night. The food was amazing but the service was laughably lacking.
We began with the signature Thai Curry Mussels, which was ample for sharing. We eagerly mopped up the coconut milk/lemongrass/basil broth with the freshly made yeasty house rolls. (These weren't on the RW menu but we added them anyway.)
The Florida corn soup with poached oysters and vegetable mirepoix was pure creamy essence of freshly shucked corn. Delicious. A tablemate found his organic greens and arugula salad to be fine/good, but hey--it's a basic salad.
Two of us had short ribs over polenta with red wine sauce, which was a rich melange of flavors and melting texture. My husband's panko catfish with fava and cranberry beans was well executed while the bbq salmon over melted spinach with garlic confit was tasty albeit a little vinegary.
Dessert was creme brulee all around (as opposed to chilled melon soup). The brulee was just perfect--creamy vanilla custard, crackling sugar top. As a welcome touch, fresh berries were sprinkled on top.
Timothy Dean himself came out of the kitchen at the end of the evening and stopped by our table. We were there until closing, having begun our meal at nine.
And now a few qualms: although there appeared to be ample staff on hand, our server kept blaming obvious blunders on it being busy.
The wine list was seriously depleted and he had to keep checking to see if they had our choices available. Three were not. He told us that this was because "people just cleaned them out this week." Okay, so couldn't they have placed an emergency call to the distributor? Or at the very least stopped by a local wine store to supplement in the meanwhile?
Our mussels were brought to the table by a busser. We had no plates at the time. We finally received them but I had to practically beg for the absent spoon.
And speaking of spoons, our soups were served without them. Ahem. We flagged down the waiter who wasn't paying attention because he returned with one, not three.
Plates were not cleared in a timely manner. The mussel shells and plates sat while he tried to remove entree and dessert plates as we were finishing.
Our waiter had a "you guys" kind of demeanor which I find grating. And why are the servers decked out in Timothy Dean logo t-shirts?
Way too casual.
The service here simply does not complement the exemplary food preparation. I would return in a heartbeat for Chef Dean's menu, but he should visit Charleston, Petit Louis or Pazo to see what good service looks like.
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