How the mighty have fallen - Stage House
GF and I went for dinner on Christmas Eve. What a huge disappointment. We have been to SH many many times, during David Drake years and after. The food has been consistently good as well as the service but this all came to a crashing end on CE. The food was just okay, really really just okay. The service was horrible and completely unattentive. The menu was prix fixe with tip already added so maybe they felt they had nothing to lose but unfortunately they have now lost a customer.
Ok so, finally people are beginning to listen.
I have been complaining about this for a couple of years now. Stage House, is mearly a decent dinner, nothing more. Service particular, has been an issue. It used to feel like an exclusive place to dine; now you go in and find people in jeans, t-shirts and even, dare I say it, a baseball cap or two (yes, we have seen this).
We have been sorely disappointed the few times we've stepped in there in recent years and finally stopped going. The last time, was only because I was invited to a tasting dinner. Dinner was nice, but truly nothing remarkable.
We still frequent the Tavern, its sister venue for the exact menu, more or less, with less expensive options such as burgers. Prefer this hands down.
Oh, and Cafe 503? Nice little place! Have not been there in a while, glad it was brought up and glad to hear the menu has changed; will have to make a point to revisit soon.
RGR........No, IMO, Hambrichts culinary skills are still intact, but the quality of the food has deteriorated.......without exaggeration, I had one of the WORST pieces of beef I have ever had in over 50 years of dining out, when I had a steak there....totally inedible, however I didn't complain,...why not ?.......because I would have heard the usual homilies and apologies, and I wasn't ready for that........recently, I had a lamb shank there that better diners would not have presented........Again, IMO, you have too many twists and turns in running that place, like 'What can we do better next" ?
The price fix of $24.00, I feel, degraded the quality of the food.....and in the many years as a close restaurant observer,....this type of groping and grasping management leads down the road to a sale of the business.........Restaurant 503 a few blocks away, has increased his business with quality and consistency......that's all the dining public wants.
Though we've never been to The Stage House, the negative comments after David Drake's departure always surprise me because the chef who took over, and also became part-owner, is Eric Hambrecht. For a couple of years, he was in charge of the kitchen at the Lincroft Inn, which had always had very ho-hum food. However, after his arrival, the quality of the cuisine skyrocketed to the superb level. A place 15 minutes from our home which we had previously shunned became a welcome culinary destination. It was a sad day when he left to go to the Stage House. Why his culinary skills are not in evidence there is a total mystery to me.