Not a good time at Greccos-St Croix Falls WI
I wanted to like Greccos. It was our first trip to St. Croix Falls - starting with a tour and tasting at Chateau Vineyard. I did some research to find some enjoyable cuisine and the blogs seemed to point in to the direction of Greccos. The Chef worked at McCormicks and Schmicks, Bellanotte, and a stint at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco. He should be able to prepare a good fish and meat course, right?
After some debate with my hubby, we went with a four course tasting with wine pairing vs selecting different entrees with a bottle of wine. We were told the menu changes weekly. We read about the Chef's food journey. Our server said to trust the chef. We immediately regretted the decision when the first pairing came out:
First course was a soggy salad with strawberries, feta and walnuts. This was paired with an extremely sweet white wine (so sweet and dense, I would classify it more as a dessert wine). Next up, white zinfandel. White Zinfandel? Who puts white zinfandel on a tasting menu? What would the chef pair with white zin? It would take close to 15 minutes before the fish pairing hit the table. Halibut over coconut rice. The fish was falling apart and completely unappetizing. We realized we were hoodwinked. What was going on?
Next was pinot noir. Alas, our meat course! I was praying the chef would redeem himself on this one course. Again, 15 minutes later, and wine glasses emptied, we were finally presented with filet mignon and truffled mashed potatoes. Potatoes were delicious. However, when we cut into the meat (which was in the form of two small meat nuggets), the meat was gray. The server looked down at our plate and apologized. She explained the chef usually prepares his meat medium/medium rare, but that Chef Grecco was absent and we were dealing with the stand-in. Things were starting to make sense.
Last course was a white dessert wine with pot de creme. It actually was very good (although technically not pot de creme), but not good enough to remove the dissatisfaction of the previous three.
The server, to her credit, recognized the sub-par execution and provided a glass of red zinfandel on the house and took $20 off the bill.
Start to finish, we were there for almost 3 hours for four tasting portions. We entered Greccos with a slight buzz from the wine at the Chateau. We left Greccos with a headache from the awful music (Sarah McLachlan!), semi-full stomachs and completely sober.
MNLawGirl...thanks for reporting this. You saved people from making the mistake of ever going there. Probably defrosted strawberries in that salad which would mean bad fruit and a soggy salad. Yuck! I could understand a French Rose, but white zinfandel? Awful choice. Halibut should not fall apart. That may not have even been real Halibut. Good truffles are not in season so I wonder about that dish as well. Maybe just potatoes with cheap truffle oil? And gray beef? You must be a nice person because I would have sent that back.
Was the pinot noir Gallo Hearty Burgundy by any chance?
It always ticks me off when people spend good money and get ripped off on a bad tasting menu. Thanks for warning us.
Fowler - I was restraining myself when I wrote the post. You are right with the truffle oil. There were no specs. The potatoes were the only part of the evening that was decent. The night unfolded like a chapter from Kitchen Confidential - everything left in the back of the fridge was dumped on our plate. Remnants from open bottles were poured in our wine glasses. Had it not been for my husband, I would have sent back everything.