Report: The Old Scott House
I attended a small event at The Old Scott House on Sunday afternoon. While the company was interesting, I can't remember the last time I was so incredibly bored by food.
The limited menu that they offer to groups was basically a typical, tedious banquet hall menu - even though we were only a group of about 10 people. Prime rib, steak, shrimp or salmon sided with dull parisienne potatoes and the most incredibly boring steamed vegetables.
I'm sorry, I seem to be repeating myself here, because I'm running out of adjectives that mean 'boring'.
Courtesy of my thesaurus, here are a few more:
drab, dreary, dry, dull, flat, heavy, humdrum, jading, leaden, monotonous, pedestrian, ponderous, stodgy, stuffy, stupid, tame, tedious, tiresome, tiring, unanimated, uninteresting, wearisome, weary, wearying
I ordered the peppercorn steak, which, at very least was cooked properly, and then drowned in a pedestrian sauce. Peppercorn sauce should have some character and fire, and not just taste flat.
It came with soup or salad. I changed my order to the salad when they changed the soup from mushroom to vegetable. It was largely iceberg lettuce with a few spring greens badly mixed in. Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy iceberg lettuce salads. I like the refreshing crunch and crispness of them. But balsamic vinagarette and iceberg lettuce don't go well together at all. Basically I had undressed greens swimming in a pool of dressing. On the other hand, that was probably an improvement over others who received their salads with about a quarter of a cup of thick dressing slapped on top.
Of the three desserts available, I opted for the cheesecake, which was not only (let's see, pick one, pick one) stodgy, but also heavy and dry (to choose synonyms for boring that also describe the texture of the cheesecake).
The service was also stuffy and tiresome. The waiters appear to be of the old European school, but showed little of the grace and professionalism that usually comes from career waiters. Every tiny deviation from whatever set plan our waiter had for the menu caused much consternation and rolling of eyes. I particularly enjoyed the point where another waiter came in and started removing tables from our set without so much as saying a word to us.
It's just possible that the regular menu might be an improvement, but frankly, I doubt it.
There are actually a few of these style restaurants around, and I can't for the life of me figure out who eats in them voluntarily. The Devonsleigh (which managed decent crabcakes, at least) has closed down. But The School up in Markham is still open. I haven't been, but I have my suspicions that David Duncan house is the same. Old buildings, chintz airmchairs and lots and lots of wainscotting do not a restaurant make. It's like some bad 1950s representation of what 'find dining' must mean.