Went to Splendido Saturday evening. Have been a few times over the years but this was our first time since David Lee stepped down. The last meal we had with David Lee still at the helm was outstanding in every way… we spent a small fortune but the evening was magic with perfect food, wine and service.
So we knew when we went there on Saturday that we wouldn’t likely be able to top (or even match) that experience, but we still wanted to try it in its latest incarnation. It was a letdown.
We choose the tasting menu with wine and it started off bumpy. An amuse of foie gras foam with a strawberry ribbon that tasted of nothing at all, followed by an interesting and tasty smoked oyster served with a yummy gin drink. Following the amuses was a lovely English Pea Soup with a lobster claw, but the flavour of the soup masked the lobster so it ended up just being a texture.
Then we waited. And waited. And waited.
Eventually the next course came out – white asparagus with morels… one of my favourite springtime dishes. However the asparagus wasn’t peeled and was stringy, and the morels weren’t properly cleaned and were gritty. Bleah. I complained, politely. I don’t recall the wine match but it wasn’t a traditional asparagus wine like Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc, and it wasn’t a great match.
We then moved on to the ‘main’ course, which was a plate with 3-4 different stylings of pork. All okay but bland and boring. The Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris that was supposed be served with this was not poured as the bottles were corked. The substitution was an Oregon Pinot Gris, which was adequate but nowhere close to the Zind. (I think there may have been another course between the asparagus course and the pork course… I have forgotten it or maybe just pushed it out of my mind).
By this time, it was such a sad state of affairs that we just both wanted to leave, so we told our server to skip the next course called “Peanut Butter and Jelly” and went straight to a Chocolate Mint dessert. This was lovely, not too minty and not too sweet. It was served with Carpano Antico (an ancient style vermouth) which tastes about the same as Buckleys, but at least the sommelier swapped it out for port when I asked our server if we were drinking cough syrup.
A note about the portion sizes… everything was small. I didn’t mind that the first few courses were small, it is a tasting menu after all, but was expecting that the ‘main’, such as it was, would be a slightly larger portion. I didn’t expect to leave hungry… we are not really big eaters I could have happily eaten a slice or two of pizza on the way home. The wine servings were also small - looked to be about 2oz per glass, and although there were 6 glasses served throughout the meal, it never felt like there was enough wine to linger over , and instead there was only enough to have a couple of sips with each course, and in between courses you were left with no wine, obviously no food, and in some cases, a long wait.
I don’t think I’d be quite so pissed off if it wasn’t expensive, but the tasting menu with wine is $200pp, so once you add in tax and tip it is a very expensive night out (at least in my books). I am happy to pay a lot for a meal, but in return for my hard earned cash, I expect more than this.
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