Friday, December 22, 2006


This is the week for dining out! Last night we went with my team from work to McIntosh's, a locally-owned tier-1 restaurant. Tonight we have reservations for the family (us, Mum and Dad, some close family friends) at Capital Grille.

So far, the Capital Grille is my favourite restaurant. We'll see how they do tonight: there is an impish delight on the part of some restaurateurs to make my recommendations and glowing praise look foolish when I take someone to a new place. So we're hoping the wait staff and cooks at the Grille are up to their usual standard: I've talked them up, and they need to not make me look bad.

McIntosh's was not quite up to what I expected. I was honestly a little disappointed. Not that anything there was bad but the minute details that separate the best from the second-best were missing. Had it been a lower-end steakhouse (say Outback), I would have given them an "excellent" for last night's performance. Unfortunately, I was paying significantly more than I would have at the Outback, and so I was expecting significantly more.

The menu for my dinner last night was: "French" Onion Soup, 48 oz. Ribeye (bone-in) cooked medium, Scalloped Potatoes, Asparagus, Creme Brulee, San Pellegrino, Port (Dow's 2000), Coffee, and Cognac. My wife had a smaller Ribeye (16 oz), and a Caesar Salad in addition to the sides I ordered (sides are family-style and there was more than enough potatoes and asparagus for two). She was content with ice water to drink. A co-worker picked up the cognac, but the rest of our bill came to me.

The food was good. The onion soup was slightly too sweet, but some salt fixed it. My wife's steak was slightly overdone, and the salad was a little bland; but the potatoes were fantastic, and the asparagus was good. My steak was a little under-seasoned, but nothing a little salt couldn't fix.

So all in all, the food was a good, but perhaps not worth the price we paid. Still, it was better than we could get at an Outback or something.

The service, however, was a little disappointing. Nothing bad, mind you: just less than perfect. As an example, I was drinking San Pellegrino. I had to refill my glass myself several times from the bottle. At the Outback, I wouldn't have minded. But this wasn't the Outback, and at the price I was paying, I ought not to have touched my glass. Another example: the waitress consistently served the man across the table from me before my wife, who was next to me. Now call me old-fashioned, but that's the first time I've ever gone to a "tier-one" steakhouse where they didn't consistently serve the women first. In fact, the waitress tried to take my order before my wife's. I suppose she might have taken my co-worker's order before my wife's because we were on separate tabs, but there's no excuse for taking mine before my wife's.

So the night was not lost: it was a nice dinner, but it looks like I'll be sticking to Capital Grille for now. Again, nothing at McIntosh's was bad, but anytime I pay $75 or more per person, I have some expectations that are much higher than just "good". At that price point, it better be "excellent".

The other friends going with us tonight tried out Ruth's Chris a few montsh back. We'll see what they think tonight. So far as I've heard, Capital Grille is better than Ruth's Chris. I've never tried Ruth's Chris myself, so I'm looking forward to seeing their opinion between the two.


Gwen said...

We've just found the best Indian restaurant we've been to yet, in any city. When you make it up here next May, we'll definitely have to go! The service wasn't all that hot (unlike the curry), but the food was dee-VINE.

clumsy ox said...

Indian is good. Actually, what I miss the most about home is, "Italian" restaurants that are owned by Greeks. Some standard fare from home you can't find (easily) here include: baked ravioli, "Greek pizza", and that soupy lasagna with the almost-brown sauce.

I've recently found a place that made a good baked ravioli, but it's taken me several years to find it. That's why I prioritize trips toRomeo's when I'm home.

Gwen said...

Right. We can't get that lasagne here, actually, although one place comes close. And seems like everyone has changed the garlic toast into much thinner, drier slices - remember the skookum thick slices you used to get? We do have some d@#n fine Greek, though.