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Corner House Restaurant - Winterlicious

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novice_foodie Feb 4, 2009 07:25 AM

My mate and I dined at the Corner House Restaurant last night for Winterlicious. Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by several would-be diners waiting in the small doorway entrance. Apparently they have a policy where they will not seat diners until their entire party has arrived. This might be all well and good except considering the small space, there was no place for customers to wait other than in the doorway with the cold wind at their backs whenever the door opened, or standing outside in the cold.

On to the food: my mate and I enjoyed our meals (apps: tiger shrimp, smoke trout; mains: venison, black cod; dessert: apple crumble, passionfruit mousse), except my mate bit into a piece of venison that was still cold inside. The service was uneven at best but we chalked this up to the fact that the place was extremely busy.

When we were leaving (we dined at the earlier seating), the small hallway was packed with diners with some lining the stairwell up to the landing! One person remarked that if the fire marshall were to enter this place, they would shut it down due to overcrowding.

Although we enjoyed our meals, there appeared to be many disgruntled customers. It seems to me that they need to hone their reservation-making skills. When I called to have my reservations pushed back 15 minutes, I was told it would be no problem since the reservation reserves a seat, not a time. Has anyone ever heard of this before?

  1. grandgourmand Feb 4, 2009 07:45 AM

    Don't know about the reservation question. But your experience sounds similar to mine last year. Except my food was pretty good (i.e. no cold meat). And the stairwell was packed.

    1 Reply
    1. re: grandgourmand
      domesticgodess Feb 4, 2009 02:30 PM

      grandgourmand...I remember that review. Its almost identical to the experience that novice-foodie had.
      I am so glad that I cancelled my reservations there.

    2. w
      wilsnip Feb 4, 2009 03:25 PM

      We were there last night and also experienced the same reservation/waiting/fire hazard problem. Luckily our wait for a table for 3 was only 15 mins. We shared the shrimp, baked pear and trout appetizers with all three being solid but unmemorable. The worst part was our "steak" entree which consisted of two slices (slices!) of steak totaling 2-3 oz.

      It was necessary for the three of us (1 small female eater and two average male eaters) to take a trip to Popeyes afterwards to shared 6 pieces of chicken. Here's hoping that their regular menu is more reasonable and/or delicious as the $35 Winterlicious menu was totally a cash grab.

      1. j
        jtamin Feb 4, 2009 04:08 PM

        I went here a couple years ago for Summerlicious. The line stretched across the street and we were seated well beyond our "reservation" time. However, the food was delicious and filling. Looks likes the portion size has gone downhill.

        1. l
          LemonLauren Feb 5, 2009 03:35 PM

          i too have experienced the crowded licious at CH and the spotty service resulting, but we all lvoed our meals, but that 4 years ago! there is something to be said for the warm, homey atmosphere on winter's night with a lovely b-nut squash soup!

          1. haggisdragon Feb 5, 2009 03:58 PM

            haven't been there myself but my sister was there for winterlicious a couple of years ago and had the same bad experience. She actually wrote an email to the owner the next day and received a very rude reply. I also know a guy who apprenticed there. He says that the chef is a great guy but his wife , runs the front of house, and is very annoying and does not know how to run a restaurant.

            1 Reply
            1. re: haggisdragon
              Squeakycheese Feb 5, 2009 04:30 PM

              We've been there several times on non 'licious nights, it always seems to move slowly. I think its a pretty good place, but there are certainly better options; pretty expensive too.

            2. e
              eatereater123 Feb 6, 2009 07:09 AM

              Corner House really milks Winter/summer licious.

              I used to eat the Corner House regularly (once a month) and got to know the owners. We decided to introduce it to our friends during Winterlicious '08. That terrible experience resulted in our permanent avoidance of CH from then on.

              We had servers neglect to take our order, did not offer us bread, did not refill our water glasses, and our plates came out lukewarm to cold, tiny portions, food that they never served on their regular menu, extra tables* place in the aisles to crowd in more people and worst of all, being rushed out in 1 hr 15 min (try getting through all the courses and a bottle of wine in that time) and felt ill from the food and remorse for having dragged our poor friends there.

              *Corner House set up smaller tables and removed the regular tables so that more tables could fit into the same space. Where two people normally sat, they placed 4, and where 4 usually sat, I saw 6 to 8.

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