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Jan 5, 2010 12:05 PM

Spendido disappointing, disappointing, disappointing

Our family of 4 1/2 foodies chose Splendido this year for our special Christmas dinner. We ordered the chef's tasting menu with wine pairings and naturally expected great food, great wine and great service. Sorry to say we got none of these.

The worst of it all was the service. A big part of the magic of a chef''s tasting and wine pairing at a good restaurant involves at least some explanation and perhaps even discussion of the food, how it was prepared, how the ingrediaents combine to create something special and the same for the carefully selected wines.

We received hastily delivered plates of mystery food, most with no explanation at all; and our wine was delivered on a cold silver trays, already poured, no bottle in sight with the waiter occasionally barking out the vintner, the year and the varietal before running off to the kitchen or someone more important than us. No descrption of the wine, no expanation of how it accented the food,

As for the food it went from mediocre to bad. We started with fois gras and brioche paired with a walnut apple salad served with a ho hum Candian Vidal. OK maybe, but not great. We hoped things would pickup.

Next we were served seared "Blue eyed tuna" (really tunas have blue eyes ..thank you for that Mister Waiter) with some over cooked, oily rapini and Krinos style kalamata olives right out of the jar -yuck. Downhill we went until our1/2 foody couldn't take it any more, asked for some wine and decided to leave.

The main course of blood pudding, sweet breads, steak and some french style fatty duck concoction lefts us all with a bad case of the meat sweats.

It really hurt to fork out over $900 for this gong show. Honest you have been warned!

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  1. Welcome to Chowhound, interesting first post. I was unaware that Splendido was serving chef's tasting menus any more, they phased them out as part of the revamp - and made a big deal about no longer doing tasting menus. Was this a special Christmas promotion?

    1 Reply
    1. re: childofthestorm

      According to Splendido's website:

      "Chef Victor Barry offers a daily tasting menu that changes and is driven by the availability of Seasonal Ingredients."

    2. Had you been to Splendido before the new owners or was this your first time?

      1. That's so surprising! And of course, unfortunate. Not that this excuses bad service, but how busy was it? And did they do anything to present the tasting menu ahead of time?

        Not to butt in too much on this review, but I would like to offer my very different experience as yet another Chow-er who has enjoyed the restaurant. I went to Splendido for the first time in early December for a special joint birthday dinner, and it was quite possibly the best service I've ever experienced. The whole night really inspires superlatives to properly describe the experience... I often have disappointments dining out because of a number of dietary sensitivities most people would write off as mere finicky eating (i.e. onions give me debilitating gut cramps... a tough ingredient to avoid!) but at Splendido, before we'd even had a chance to properly look at the menu, our server asked about any sensitivities or requirements we might have and started making a list. It felt like we had a small swarm of people attending to us all night, and as an especially nice touch, there were a number of helpful gestures to accommodate my mother, who was on crutches after breaking a bone in her foot.

        Though we never saw a wine bottle, either, this is because they only refilled us from our individual decanter. Did you ask to see the bottle at any point? Maybe they had a reason for not bringing it, though I can't think why...

        Anyway, sorry to hear about such a bad experience... but I hope you consider returning, and hopefully end up with a better memory of the place.

        2 Replies
        1. re: c.cow

          Re the wine, if you ordered a bottle from the list, it should be shown to you; if not, then it's a big service faux pas. However, if it's a degustation menu with wine pairing, then the wine can arrive in the glass but the waiter or sommelier has to ID and describe it, but there should normally be no refills so not sure why you were being refilled?

          1. re: syoung

            We didn't have the tasting menu. We ordered from the wine list. As you say, it makes little sense that we would be refilled if we had ordered glasses, so I'm not sure why you would assume that was the case...

        2. I've heard of blue fin tuna and big eye tuna but not "blue eyed tuna." Personally I don't think you should take offence at the waiter describing the type of tuna you are getting. There are certainly variations in the species.

          For what it's worth, I had a very good meal at Splendido back before the changeover. However, David Lee was not in the kitchen the night I went. Could have been Victor Barry at the helm. I'm sorry to hear you didn't enjoy your experience there.

          1. Not to make excuses, but I wonder if they had new or different staff working that night (your dinner was on the 25th, right?). Could be hard to get people to work on that day. Not that this excuses bad service especially at that price but Splendido really prides itself on great service so this seems odd. The poor food is another matter altogether.