Manhattan Supper Club - Orange
Was there last night and was underwhelmed.
The facility is well done and has a great atmosphere. However, the experience didn't match decor.
Service was strange. Yes, strange. Our server would lean against the booth (high end and you lean?) while explaining specials and would talk to one party, clearly blocking the other party out with body language, while pouring wine. Also, salt and pepper on the table upon sitting, which seemed strange at something billed high end.
They were going for a three tiered service (head waiter, waiter and bus) but it never panned. The head server was bringing meals and clearing plates, bus rarely showed and we were never upsold more wine. The waiter showed twice dropping plates and never would finish with, "enjoy" or any sort of finish to his sentence. He would just oddly walk off after setting food down.
The food. A manager accidentally dropped the wrong salad at our table, and thankfully I didn't have to pay for it; it was miserable. It was a hearts of Romane and was improperly dressed or the dressing was horrid, lacking in any sort of descernable flavor and unseasoned. It was dropped prior to our appitizer of mushroom tart. The tart was good, but needed acid to complete the dish; just a pop of vinegar of some sort would have really brightened the dish, which was very earthy in nature.
Our salads of tomatoes and maytag blue and roasted beats and Humbolt fog were good, but we both thought they were lacking in the amount of cheese served with each, especially since they were offering up rockstar cheeses on the dishes.
Main course of pork chop and short ribs were both very good. However, they needlessly stuffed the chop with cheese, complicating a dish that was well executed and perfectly good in the quality of meat and simplicity. The short rib was great and well executed.
No desserts were tried, but we both walked away with an odd feeling of the service. After much contemplation on the way to the art walk, we both decided that we'd rarely go again. Too many other great restaurants in the Tustin/Orange area to put it high on the list of must eats.
Perhaps I will go for lunch with out of town visitors. But you know what - whatever quality it is, and it may be extraordinary, the menu seems a bit boring to me...tired of the meat heavy, clubby, cocktail thing that all would indicate they are doing...again, just me, I hope they are busy and successful!!
I've been twice for two full dinners. Both were very uneven; I've been telling friends to at least visit for drinks b/c it is an impressive remodel.
If they are concerned about keeping the doors open as you say, they need to focus not on 'giving back to the community', but rather, giving full value to the customers who patronize them right now. Yes, they do buy premium, sustainable goods. That's easy. What's hard is doing them justice is a consistent way. What they did to my Niman Ranch chop and my Shelton Farms chix demonstrated the kitchen needs more skill and direction. Sure, the pricing was sane... until I ate the food. Then it felt very expensive. And don't even get me started on the service -- it was shameful.
It's very clear someone put a LOT of money behind it and the area should be able to support a new high-quality venue. I really want MSClub to flourish... but they need to join me in that desire. So for now, I'm gonna step back and wait a bit while they ripen some. But they don't have a lot of wiggle room with this economy and a new crop of hungry fine dining competitors coming online (weekly, it seems). I hope they pull it together quickly so their story has a happy ending.