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Inn on the Twenty, in Jordan: Disappointment

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A friend and I stopped in for dinner during the week, on the way back from Buffalo. We'd never been before, and we thought we'd be in for a real treat. The setting was beautiful, the decor lovely, the service impeccable, but the food...

The menu was well-written, the type of menu that leaves the diner wanting to try everything. From sweetbreads with foie-gras raviolo to start, to a napoleon of salmon, scallops and lobster for main, to apple raspberry crumble with whiskey ice cream for dessert, it all sounded lovely.

Aside from the desserts (the crumble and a pumpkin cheesecake served with sour cream sorbet), which were not overly sweet and had great flavour balance, the meal was mediocre. The lobster (?) bisque was overwhelmed by a nasty smoked tomato salsa, rendering the creamless soup acrid. An appetizer of salsify three-ways lacked cohesion. A main of rib-eye done two-ways featured rib-eye that was almost cold, with a vegetable hash and spinach pesto: no flavour balance, no textural interest. The salmon napoleon (a special of the day) featured very thin slices of overcooked salmon serving as "feuilles" for sauteed spinach and the most minuscule pieces of lobster and scallops imaginable.

Has anyone had any experiences at Inn on the Twenty recently? Was it better when the Olsons were in charge?

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  1. i ate there this past summer and while i can't recall my meal to great detail, i was quite disappointed with the overall execution. the rave reviews have left me stunned with this place and so i'm not sure if mine was a singular experience.

    i had ordered the tasting menu and the consomme i began with was just simply bland. it had perfect clarity but lacked any depth in flavour beyond simple beef. the sweetbreads that featured one dish were among the worst i've had as of yet. they were dense and chewy with, yet again, little flavour. the whole meal was simply mediocre even though the menu read incredibly well for me too. after having two desserts, one was quite good and the other ok... a case of lack of balance.

    sorry this is so vague but my dining partner not having the tasting menu was so underwhelmed as well that i think i can find many other dining options in NOTL.

    1. I'm really sorry to hear the reports about On the Twenty. Executive Chef Kevin Maniaci is a really creative guy, and I have enjoyed his food in the past. That said, I haven't been there since last summer, and things can always change in a heartbeat in any restaurant.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gourmando

        Agreed!
        I ate there last summer and it was absolutely FANTASTIC!!!

        1. re: SnoShoe

          I've eaten there twice in the last 2 years and was not disappointed

      2. I have had some simply stunning dinners there upon many occasions in the past few years.

        I am very surprised that you had such a bad time.

        I have always found the food to be exemplary.

        1. Judging by your comments, I'm hoping that Inn on the Twenty was simply having an off night. I will definitely return soon and give it another try.

          1. As my parents are in Niagara I have been to the Inn many, many times for both lunch and dinner and can say that the food has always been good to great. However I did have lunch there 2 months ago and could taste that the food was slipping. The exectution was lacking as was the taste. The Soup I had was salty and chicken was totally dried out. Maybe just an off month?

            1. I ate at the Inn in February and the food was great. I had purchased a Valentine's package that included a weekend stay and dinner for one night. Total price was $1,500 and at the end of dinner I asked our server Brian if this included gratuity. He said a "very small one" but we could tell he was lying. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and a 15% tip on a few hundred dollars. The next day at check out I learned that in fact a gratuity greater than 15% was already added, as I'm sure Brian knew. I was told that the restaurant and Inn were separate and their was nothing they could do. I will NEVER go back.....

              3 Replies
              1. re: Paul de la Roche

                It has been my experience dining around the world that if a tip is included as part of the dinner cost, it's always whatever's reasonable, usually 15-20% depending on location and class of restaurant, and you have the option of giving more. And it makes sense that a reasonable tip should either be fully included, or not. What would be the point of just including "a very small one"?

                If you could tell he was lying, why did you give him the benefit of the doubt? You were rightly skeptical and could've easily asked the maitre d' or restaurant manager to verify. So, by saying you're NEVER going back, you're blaming the entire restaurant on something that you could've easily verified yourself and was not really food or service related.

                1. re: Paul de la Roche

                  Why don't you write to the restaurant and complain? It's a shame not to go back when you seemed to have enjoyed it so much, just because a waiter was dishonest. Brian's not the only dishonest waiter around.

                  1. re: Paul de la Roche

                    I will NEVER go back, seems to be an over reaction, perhaps even a little dramatical. Then there is the issue of a public claim that is both absurd and unjust. Having the privelege of working with Brian for many years, I can ensure anyone within our industry that he carries himself with integrity and has an honest approach. It's unfortunate that such a short misunderstood interaction apparently ruined your weekend.