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Jan 5, 2009 07:59 PM

Disappointed at Characters - EDM

Recently had dinner at Characters. We had not been there for a while and were really looking forward to it. The food was very ordinary and the service was lackluster. I started with the Onion Soup which was wholly unremarkable and then had the duck breast as my main. Duck breast was alright, a bit chewy with an overly sweet sauce and not very hot. The vegetables were virtually raw and inedible. My dining partners split the Scallop appetizer and then two had the Chilean Sea Bass and one the lamb. None of the dishes were bad, but when the bill hits $240.00 for four people with two starters, four mains, one martini and one glass of wine, not bad is NOT good enough. We skipped desert based on what we had received prior and then had some warm (not hot) coffee. I would have asked for new coffee, but we never saw our server again, so had no chance.

Charging between 30 and 55 for entrees that are "not bad" is ridiculous.

I hope that we just hit them on a really off night, otherwise I fear that we may be seeing the decline of a once really good restaurant. I know that will not be going back.

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  1. Wow! That's terrible when a meal that cost's that much isn't great. Kind of leaves a pit in your stomach, doesn't it? What do you think one should do in that situation? Phone back later, and speak to the manager or send back some of the food, like the vegetables that were inedible? How much did you tip for lackluster service?

    I have never been to Characters but considering your honest review, I don't know if I'd bother. Is it a place you used to prefer for special occasions, etc? I hate it when you pay an astronomical amount for a nice meal and feel you could have done just as good or better at home.

    1. some chowhounds pointed out to me in a post that its the ambiance that your paying for .or some bs like that.its to bad that you had an incredible expensive bad night .it sounds like a typical alberta restaraunt ,pricy food ,bad service was the ambiance then if you dont mind me asking?

      4 Replies
      1. re: howlin

        I was at Characters once, 3 yrs ago. we went on a quiet night, I think it was a sunday or early ;in the week and our service was fantastic. the food was very good, my only complaint was that the accompaniments could use some work.

        i would still like to go again.IMO i think that your experience was a one off (hope).

        If anyone else has been lately and has enjoyed it, it would be great to know.

        1. re: cleopatra999

          I was there a few months ago and we were all happy....and I'm not easily pleased.

        2. re: howlin

          The room itself is very nice. It is an old converted warehouse space with a modern traditional feel. It has an open kitchen but the kitchen noise does not penetrate into the restaurant.

          Ambiance is a hard thing to define. I like the look of the room. There is lots of space between the tables and it is easy to talk without feeling that you are being overheard or that you are disturbing other tables. At the same time I have always felt that the room is a cold and having the tables set so far apart makes me feel a bit remote (if that makes any sense at all).

          1. re: jenga66

            I agree with your description of the room. i disagree with it being cold though, I actually find it very warm and inviting. We actually ate our dessert on the couches by the fire, very nice.

        3. I used to go to Characters fairly often....every 6-8 weeks probably, no more. Went about six months ago and the service was SO bad I will never return. Took twenty minutes for our cocktails, food was served before our wine, dirty plates sat in front of us for ages after each course and our server was generally absent and didn't speak...even when we asked her a direct question. Terrible, terrible service. You would think when a table of two has a bill of $600 the server could respond to your questions.

          As far as the food goes I can't remember, as I was so annoyed by the experience.