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Sep 7, 2011 07:44 AM

Haute Dish disaster

This Sunday, I went to Haute Dish with 2 other people. I’ve been wanting to try, but since I am a vegetarian the Sunday night vegetarian menu is a must.
When we walked in, we were told that only the bar area was seating because of limited waitstaff that night. The bar was nearly empty, though, so there was no issue. For the first half of our meal, everything was lovely. I had the vegetarian tasting menu and my two companions were sharing four meat dishes. One of my courses, a roasted corn soup, even made my companions jealous of their meal choices.
The problem came as I hit my last course, the dessert. My companions hadn’t gotten their main meal course, the tater tot hot dish, yet, so I felt weird starting on a dessert.
I tried to wait for them to get something to eat while I worked on my cheesecake, but nothing came. Eventually, we ended up splitting the cheesecake between the three of us. We waited for the tater tot hot dish for about 45 minutes. The bartender, who was obviously distressed by how long everything was taking, kept apologizing. But still no food. People around us kept getting their food. Finally, we said we didn’t want that dish, but could we look at a dessert menu?
At this point, the bartender, out of mortification, gave us the dessert menu and said that dessert and a couple of our drinks were on the house. Mollified, we ordered what looked like a lovely savory panna cotta. If only we had been able to find out. We waited another 30 minutes and it never came. Towards the end of the “meal” (since we hadn’t actually had any food in over an hour), we gave up. The bartender comped us all our drinks, since we couldn’t even get the comped desserts served to us, and apologized profusely. He said we should come back again on a day when they weren’t so busy.
The food we had was lovely. However, we sat down in a restaurant that was mostly empty. Sure, it filled up…but we had our orders placed well before that. I’m torn whether I should give them a second chance.

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  1. You should try contacting the restaurant directly, either send an email or make a call. It kind of sounds like a manager and / or executive chef weren't around. Base your decision to return on how your complaint is handled.

    I'm curious too, as I'm also a vegetarian and had long written this place off due to it's meatcentric menu, but was happy to see they had started a Sunday veg menu.

    4 Replies
    1. re: semanticantics

      Thanks for the suggestion semanticantics! I did contact Haute Dish and got a very favorable reply. Their response has certainly tipped the scale of my opinion and I will be giving them a second shot.

      1. re: semanticantics

        Just came across this and thought I would comment on an experience about 1 year ago. I took a group of 10 people there for a work dinner and was disappointed by a number of things and the way the staff handled them at the time and on followup. I am fortunate to travel the world and get to sample meals of all types. I think that the Twin Cities has a vibrant dining scene given its smaller size when compared to other metro areas of similar population. So I was very excited to get to this place and see what it was all about as it had received many decent reviews in the local media. First, the Good: The best thing about this place is the bourbon selection. . .one of the best in the area with some hard to find selections.
        Now the Mediocre: The menu creativity. You have to give them points for thinking things through like the Duck in a Can (literally served in a can that is opened tableside) or the steak with bone marrow accoutrement (you almost never find bone marrow served outside of France these days). Just reading the menu was exciting.
        Finally, the Bad: The execution was really not good. The food took an incredibly long time to get to us ( the restaurant was not full) and luckily we were well into the bourbon so most of the group did not notice but since I was hosting, I felt somewhat responsible for my table's well-being. After an awkwardly long wait between apps and mains, the main courses began to appear. Four people had ordered the steak based on my comments about how great bone marrow is. They had never had it before and were wanting to try it. The steaks arrived sans marrow. When I asked the server about it, she went back to the kitchen and came back and told us that they had run out. Run out?!? we were seated at 5:30 pm and the place was empty. Clearly, they never had any to begin with but didn't bother to tell us when we ordered. There was no apology or offer to replace the dish. Without the marrow, it was an expensive and mediocre steak.

        At the end of the meal, someone came by to ask how things were. I commented on our disappointment about the steaks and made sure she understood that it was really an oversight on their part. She got a funny look on her face and said she would make sure that the kitchen understood this. She then told us that it was a night that the regular kitchen staff was not in house so they were having some problems. No offer to try to make it right. I hate when problems are not resolved on the spot by the restaurant.

        The following day, I emailed the manager about it. I had set up the reservation by email through this same person so we had conversed electronically quite a bit ahead of time to ensure the details of this dinner. I got a limp, lukewarm apology and a "hope you will come back in to try us again" type of response. Haven't been back since, don't plan to either. A bourbon bonanza will not save this spot and I will be surprised if they make it another year given the mediocrity of my experience.

        1. re: 911doc

          Haute DIsh didn't originate duck in a can: they borrowed the idea from from Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal. http://www.restaurantaupieddecochon.c...


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            I did see that reported on a TV documentary of some sort a couple years ago. I did not mean to imply that Haute Dish created it. I gave them points for bringing it to MN though as no one else is doing that sort of thing around here. Thanks for the info!