Unfortunate Minibar Experience
- jpschust Oct 27, 2006 02:08 PM
Well, last night we went to minibar for the first time. The food was ok in some parts, good in a few parts and meh in a couple of other parts. The service is lacking to say the least, the wine pairings didn't match the meal particularly well, and what's with them not using clean silverware between courses? A chef wouldn't taste an appetizer with the same spoon he would use to taste a soup, so why does he ask the paying customer to do the same?
I sent a fairly cordial e-mail to Chef Andres only to get a pretty rude response back.
I fail to see why this place gets such high ratings.
I only have 4 restaurants that I would consider in the top tier of DC dining and Restaurant Eve is one of them. I'm trying to get a reservation in the bistro room right now for my date and myself. I've heard nothing but the best of Restaurant Eve and I look forward to dining there.
The experience at Restaurant Eve is completely different from Minibar. Minibar is absolutely unique in DC dining - might not be to one's taste or fancy.......but IMO you just can't compare it to any other meal in and around town...including al tasting menus. I love love love Minibar, but can also see how it just won't work well for everyone.
Like I said, my problem is not so much with the food- it has good and bad parts to be expected with a 30 course meal, but one can compare service.
Here are a few things I outlined in my letter to Chef Andres:
1. No one asked for our coats when we came in the door. It wasn't until we were upstairs that it was even considered- we had 2 large attache bags from work.
2. We were shuffled off to the bar with piss poor service from the bartender.
3. The used utensils weren't changed out between courses. I still feel this is a neccesity.
4. The staff was less than happy to talk about the meal with us even though they said they encouraged questions.
5. The wine pairings as mentioned before didn't match the meal.
These are all things that are 100% comprable to Restaurant Eve or any other restaurant.
What's more unfortunate is that I got a rude letter back from Chef Andres.
If you love Minibar I can think of 2-3 other places around the country I think you'd enjoy more.
A couple of points in response. First, you can't compare Minibar to the tasting menus at anyplace else in DC. It's 32 courses, that come in a pretty constant stream. Trying to replace silverware 31 times would make the whole experience insufferable. And the food is simply amazing. It's truly unique and interesting for this city.
And I'm not dissing Restaurant Eve, which I love, or anywhere else. It's just that Minibar is totally different and requires a different service model.
The thing is that the food wasn't simply amazing. There were parts that were and there were parts that werent.
And yes, you can replace silverware quickly and not make it noticable- you always have 2 pieces at your fingertips. It should have been replaced after every few courses since some are finger courses.
It requires a different service model, but it still requires attentive service which wasn't delivered.
The food is unique for this city, but it's not like the food isn't being done elsewhere and has no comparison. Is it a branch out for DC, yes, but is it spectacular, based on my experience last night- no.
You know what, I've thought about this for a few days now, and I think I'm even more mad than when I received the letter from Chef Andres initially. To be rude to someone who just dropped over 300 on a meal at your place where the meal wasn't particularly good and the service was fair to poor is in terrible taste. There's a right way and a wrong way to deal with customers who are unhappy. Chef Andres apparently needs to learn what the right way is.