Charlie Trotter 2
- Clifford Abrams
I got an unsigned and vulgar email for daring to criticise Charlie Trotter and his overpriced eatery back in March. Up till now this site has been pretty hi-tone and friendly. Anyone else get a similar nasty note?
In truth, you didn't just criticize -- you insulted him. Is it any wonder you got an insult in return?
I had an interesting experience at Trotter's in late September of 2000. Sorry it's tardy, but I don't visit this part of Chowhound very often.
I always try to visit Trotter's when I'm in Chicago. I do think he's one of the most gifted Chefs in the country. Unfortunately, I think he needs to pay a little more attention to his restaurant.
One of the courses we were served at this visit was a venison dish. I love venison. I hunt it, butcher it, sausage it, and generally eat it whenever I can. But not the version we were served. It was mishandled somewhere along the way from animal to plate.
I butcher five to seven of these animals a year. I know what it's supposed to taste like and I know when it's been mishandled. Somewhere along the way, this meat got a little too warm. It imparts a distinctive sour-gamy note to the meat that can be unpleasant.
I complained. I spoke with the Executive Chef, who dismissed my comment immediately. Apparently, Trotter's food is always perfect. I explained to the EC exactly what was wrong with the meat, detailing my experience in the matter. Again, he told me there was nothing wrong with the meat and roundly dismissed my opinion.
Upon my return to the table, I found that the waitstaff had decided to refer to me as "Mr. Venison" in quiet tones behind my back. I avoided further confrontation out of regard for my dining companion, who also heard these inexcusable comments from the staff.
I'm headed back to Chicago soon and couldn't get a reservation at Trotter's. Now that I've read these comments, I'm no longer disappointed. The restauranteur who allows his staff to treat patrons in a rude and dismissive manner no longer deserves my business, or the business of my friends and fellow Chowhounds. I've taken Charlie's off my list until I hear about an attitude change (and a change in venison suppliers).