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Underwhelmed at Omri & Boni, La Quinta

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Underwhelmed at Omri & Boni, La Quinta

torta basilica | May 9, 2005 11:25 AM

Been looking forward to checking this place out for awhile. Made resvs a week before & told nothing at 8, but we could have 8:30. Very visually striking building - all glass & stone/concrete/soaring ceilings/fountains. Had to valet, even though the parking lot was right there. Friendly greeting & we asked for a table not in the middle of the large room. Restaurant was only about 1/3 full. Tried to seat us at a table right on top of another couple & asked for a change to a more private table for both them & us. Were seated by a very large & loud group - it is really loud in here, even with only 1/3 full. Our table for 2 on the wall was so long, we really had to struggle to hear each other. Given clipboard menus - 1 page of salads & 'Firsts' & I page of 'Seconds' - many salads & appetizers sounded good, but was underwhelmed by the main selection as I had been led to believe there was a lot of fish & seafood & only saw 3 dishes with scallops & shrimp. Ordered the recommended Hansel Chard for $55, which was very good. Rombauer chard was $47, which I thought reasonable. Excellent hot garlic knot rolls brought.

Waiter arrives & proceeds to shout the 30 (I am not joking - he warned us how many there were going to be!!!) specials to us. This was really irritating as so many to try & remember & not enough info as to prep, etc., or cost, of course. They did all sounds good, but by now we were pretty confused, & of course, had no ideas about prices, which were pretty steep seeing what was on the printed menu. We both ordered the soft shell crabs off the 'specials' & were going to share til he told us just one crab per serving. Each came in what looked like a thick washbowl with Asian veggies & a sauce that tasted like an undercooked roux - kindof floury & tasteless. Crab were good-sized & had some meat, but I felt over-battered & greasy. I had the foie gras for a main & it was a very generous piece, but again, very greasy & in a thick viscious brown mushroom sauce which didn't begin to complement or cut the richess. I frankly couldn't tell a mushroom from foie gras piece as it all looked the same. It was so heavy, grappa would have been better to get it down than Sauternes! I love foie gras, but this was one of my least favorite dishes ever. Husband had the balsamic glazed scampi & there was so much balsamic, you couldn't taste the shrimp & they were so overcooked, there was not much texture. We had ordered a delicious sounding halibut to share, but at that point, we were both more than a little nauseous from all the grease & cancelled it & decided against dessert. I have a pretty iron stomach & normally, lightly fried softshell crabs & a foie gras with a complementary & richness-cutting sauce would be no problem for me. $154 for wine & 4 appetizers.

Bar looked nice & they have a take-out cook shop with pre-packaged meals, salads, etc - maybe I'll give that a try sometime, but I don't think we'll be back to the restaurant - or if we do, will order only salad & fish!

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