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May 13, 2007 08:17 AM

Black Trumpet - Horrible!!

I know that sounds pretty harsh but I had a BAD dinner at Black Trumpet last night. My expectations were high considering the many fine reviews online as well as recommendations of friends. We arrived to find the restaurant packed for a Saturday night. Thinking this was a sign of good things to come we were both excited. We were seated in area to the left of the entrance what looks to be an enclosed porch with a terra cotta tiled floor. This room would be kind of nice except for the exposed HVAC venting over our heads and the waiter stained ceiling near the windows. Our waiter then arrived to present us with menus. While he was a nice very friendly fellow, he evidently had just taken a cigarette break and reeked of smoke. He advised of some very interesting specials; one of which was a Kobe steak with mushroom risotto for $59. While expensive, I remember reading that the chef used to tend the stove at Brennens Steakhouse so I decided to go for it. The waiter said I would not be disappointed and they would be happy to cook it anyway I liked. I was expecting heaven on a plate. Having had Kobe beef before, I ordered it the only way I thought you can properly eat it - seared on the outside and rare inside. He then asked if I wanted it Pittsburgh Style (black and blue). I said no. I didn't want it blackened or cold inside. The rest of the order consisted of the lobster cappuccino, pasta special, the yellow beet and asparagus salad to be split, and the scallop entree. There was an issue with every item. The lobster bisque/cappuccino while the best of the lot had only one small morsel of lobster in it. It was also served in a cappuccino cup which made it hard to eat. The pasta special was under seasoned. The salad was not split as requested. While all the ingredients were fresh, it wasn't dressed enough and needed more than the pich of goat cheese placed on top. The scallops while perfectly seared, were bogged down by the heavy and huge potato pancake it sat on top of. My Kobe steak was an abomination. The cut of meat was disgusting. Instead of being properly marbled it was fatty on the outside and tough and sinewy on the inside. It couldn't have been Kobe or Waygu beef. To make matters worse the inside was raw and cold. Knowing there was no saving the steak I decided not to return it and ate half of what I could salvage. Having brought a dessert wine I decided to order dessert. Knowing you can't wreck a bananas foster we decided to try it. This was cooked table side and I was concerned how quickly our waiter prepared it. The bananas were not cooked enough to caramelize them. Further the bananas were cut up like you would to top cereal. While I'm not asking for Brennans in NOLA, they should at least be sliced length wise as it’s supposed to be a fancy dessert. Anyway for the food I ordered the cost of the meal was about $175 without wine and including gratuity. Totally not worth it if you ask me. For that money I could have had a great meal at Nicholas. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

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  1. Hey, bgut1, I'm truly sorry that Black Trumpet turned out to be a disaster for you. Nothing like spending a sizable chunk of money and feeling totally gypped! I do appreciate your detailed explanation of why the experience was so disappointing. We've not been to Black Trumpet. It's never been on my "go to" list, and so it will remain!

    1. I would be interested to know where Black Trumpet is located. Could you identify the town (and the state, for that matter) for us?

      3 Replies
        1. re: F77

          Not much of a menu. i remember alot more on it a year ago.

        2. re: Ted in Central NJ

          Sorry about that Ted. I usually mention the town. As F77 wrote, its in Spring Lake, NJ at the Sandpiper Inn.

        3. Wow. I had only heard good things about that place. Have been going there for some weeks now, each time we pick a date with another couple, one of us has to cancel and have not gotten there. now I wonder If we should bother. I ate there about a year ago and enjoyed it. My friends father and someone else had the lobster ($44.) I believe and loved it. Perhaps there is a new chef? How else could you explain it? Not sure if I want to give it a shot or not.

          1. I know my reply is a year later but my wife and I had a similar experience. I knew going in that the decor was not great and the service was mediocre. They might as well make the service more informal if they aren't going to train the waiters properly. But this is chowhound and I, like most people here, would forgive all of that for some excellent food. Unfortunately, that's not what we had.

            Everything was overly-elaborate. The portions were way too big. The "kobe" beef wasn't Kobe or Wagyu (does it bother anyone else that US restaurants say "Kobe" in the first place?). The salad dressings and sauces were cloying. The "blackberry flavored" creme brulee looked like mud, had the consistency of pudding and didn't have a proper crust on top. It was overly sweet and yet served with... sweetened whipped cream! There was a tuna carpaccio that they made a roll around crab meat and served with julienned vegetables in dressing so the tuna was completely lost. The fact that they have a salad course and then serve one of their entrees on top of a salad was also disappointing. The one redeeming dish was the filet served on the bone with some excellent mashed potatoes. Although, the plate did have some kind of disgusting jus (either from the cooking process or as I suspect added later) that stuck to ones teeth, it was easily avoided.

            Oh and don't be surprised if the specials are a good $15-20 more than the regular menu items. I also spent about $180 for 2 including tip and tax.

            1. I have lived in Spring Lake for the last year and we frequently eat at the Black Trumpet - and love it! I'm sorry your experience was so different from ours. I think their scallops are perfect - and if you don't like the potato pancake with it, they are happy to substitute any number of other delicious options. Their pork roast is excellent, as is almost anything I've ever eaten there.

              I do have two negative experiences. I once ordered the "special" appetizer pasta - ravioli. For $15 I received three ravioli - average size. That was a rip off. On another occasion, my daughter ordered the Kobe steak and thought it was tasteless and overpriced. Off-season and during the week it is always a delightful experience for us. There is a terrific dinner special on Sundays (off season, at least) for $25 or $30. It includes appetizer, entree, dessert and is a great value. There are a good number of entree options from their regular menu.

              We are going tomorrow night so I'll be especially alert! Give it another try on a week-night.

              PS - I never noticed the ceiling venting or the water stains, so maybe I am not as good a judge as I think!

              1 Reply
              1. re: FordhamGal

                FordhamGal - Sorry but once was enough for me. The fact that all three of us have had the same experience with the so called "kobe" steak speaks volumes to me. Good Luck.