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Mar 13, 2008 09:53 AM

davidburke & donatella—not good

Based on the recommendations of some Chowhounds, I went to davidburke & donatella for brunch this past Sunday and am sad to report that I did not enjoy the meal. First, our table was literally less than an inch away from the one next to it, so my husband and I felt as if we were eating with the couple seated there, which was rather unpleasant because the woman kept coughing throughout the meal.

On to the food. It was a $35 prix fixe menu and we started with the calamari and endive salad. The calamari was fine, but my salad was terrible. Four measly pieced of endive drenched in blue cheese dressing, four apple slices so thin I could barely make out their taste and about 3 marcona almonds. The huge pile of greens in the mixed garden salad I saw being served seemed much more appetizing and satisfying.

After our plates were cleared, we waited a long 20 minutes for our main courses to appear, which was surprising because neither of our dishes should have taken very long to prepare. My husband ordered the steak (medium) and eggs. Definitely had better steak elsewhere, though the accompanying potatoes were tasty. I'd planned to order the rueben benedict because it sounded different, but our waitress actually said it wasn't very good, so I chose the smoked salmon croque madame, which was three layers of smoked salmon between excessively buttered toast. Boring, not satisfying at all and something I could have easily made myself if I'd wanted an overwhelmingly salty sandwich.

My husband enjoyed the apple tart and I liked my mango sorbet and mixed fruit, but then, how hard is it to throw sorbet and fresh fruit into a bowl?

The bill was about $90 with coffee and tip and I'd say it was the biggest waste of money I've ever spent on meal. Did we order the wrong things? Is it better at dinner? I've had the misfortune of eating at David Burke's Burke in the Box and Hawaiian Tropic Zone, and was expecting more from his classier option, but I was sorely disappointed.

It also took a looooong time to get our bill because brunch service was ending and the waiters all seemed to be focused on cleaning up the dining room rather than taking care of their customers. Our original waitress never reappeared after she served us the main dishes.

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  1. Too bad, I loved the dinner I had there. The place was great. Not four star material, but service was good, I loved the space, and food was excellent.

    1 Reply
    1. re: doona

      I confess I was one of those Chowies in praise of this place.
      My experience was the same as Doona (fortunately)
      But lucky am I not to have ever sampled their brunch. What a disaster. And it sounds nothing like the experience we had when we were seated at a table in the bar area where there were only about 3 tables and very private. I peeked into the dining room and was amazed at how sumptuous and elegant it looked, something like a country club dining room, with lots of people, but somehow for me the charm was missing. The food was delicious and the service was attentive but not cloying. (We did go at 5:45. Perhaps that too makes a difference.)
      I am wondering if the actual chef was there or whether they employ a sous chef for brunches and lunches?
      Anyway, I am really sorry for your negative experience and don't blame you for your disappointment.
      Sounds like this place lacks one important ingredient needed for a fine restaurant -- consistency.