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Anyone been to Van Horne yet?? Reviews??

o
OliverB Nov 24, 2011 06:26 AM

I'm considering dinner tonight but would love to get some feedback from CH.

Has anyone tried it yet?

  1. mackinaw Mar 2, 2012 07:47 PM

    Just had a meal there tonight with a group with a very mixed report.

    The food generally was good, wine good, service good.

    However: one of our party of 6 is a vegetarian ... who was refused any food at all!

    I understand small kitchens, and the problem of trying to accommodate vegetarians. I'm sympathetic about the headaches caused by a vegetarian in a restaurant filled with meat.

    But still. Surely you should feed them something (there was one small appetizer that she ate, but nothing else except a martini ...)

    A potato. A couple of carrots. Something.

    We asked, and were told there was nothing for our vegetarian friend.

    A stick of celery? Some spinach? *Something*? ... Anything? ... But the chef categorically refused to provide *anything* ...

    The quite embarrassed waiters had to convey the chef's response ... they had a small kitchen, no spare carrots, impossible to accommodate, they had "standards" for their plates ...

    Still, we had to ask specifically for bread.

    Finally I spoke to the chef, who said the same things. It was unbelievable. Eventually, he said: well you could have had the carrots, but I'd have to charge you a full meal, $30 for them ... and I said: "fine ... sure, but no one even offered that! we were refused even a $30 carrot" ...

    The foie gras is awesome, though, and the wine list interesting.

    9 Replies
    1. re: mackinaw
      g
      Glaff Mar 2, 2012 09:26 PM

      That is really really stupid and unacceptable. It's 2012, it's not like being vegetarian is still a strange and rare thing. The size of the kitchen is probably just a dumb excuse, I don't see why they would need a bigger kitchen to accommodate a vegetarian, at least with some of the side dish they use with the mains. You were really polite to stay... I would have left...

      1. re: Glaff
        e
        eat2much Mar 3, 2012 07:13 AM

        Just to play the devil's advocate for a moment, might it not be a better idea when reserving your table for 6 to ask whether the restaurant can accommodate a vegetarian? I'm pretty sure that with a couple of hours notice the chef would have been more than happy to oblige. To wait until you are seated is perhaps a little too late.

        To automatically assume that a restaurant can accommodate special dietary requirements without advance notice and then slam them on a public chat board is somewhat unfair.

        Just my $.02

        1. re: eat2much
          g
          Glaff Mar 3, 2012 07:33 AM

          That's also true, but there's a lot of different vegetables with the meat/fish mains on the menu, so why not at least serve that if it's ok with the client? Seriously it's not hard to cook something for a vegetarian, when you're a good chef of course...

          1. re: Glaff
            e
            eat2much Mar 3, 2012 07:38 AM

            Again in devil's advocate mode. If you are a good chef with two extra sets of arms perhaps, but if all your veg has already been cut/chopped for the evening and to take the time to prep a special dish might screw up service for other diners you might prefer to see to the needs of the many rather than the few.

            1. re: eat2much
              mackinaw Mar 3, 2012 09:46 AM

              First, I agree that we should have called ahead and asked ... if they said: "no" then we would have gone to another resto. If they said "yes," then great. No problems there.

              Second, I agree that it is unreasonable to expect anything particularly fancy off-menu from a busy little market kitchen. No problems there either.

              However, we asked for anything. A potato. A plate of steamed carrots or mixed veg. And the chef said "no."

              As Glaff said, all the dishes are served with vegetables. So. Serve a plate of the vegetables without the rest of the dish. Send some cheese out. Bread. Something.

              * The fish was served with: lentils and tomyum tomaté
              * The chicken was served with carrots and kale
              * The scallops were served with endives and potatoes

              Would it *really* be that much extra work to make up a small plate with some lentils, or carrots, or kale or potatoes? Or just one of the above?

              To make a plate of fish, hold the fish? etc? ... Would that really have screwed up the service of the many?

              Instead the chef made a decision to refuse to feed a customer anything....and when I asked him about it just shrugged his shoulders.

              And if he doesn't want people posting in public forums about things like this, then don't do things like this.

              1. re: mackinaw
                o
                ohyouneverknow Mar 3, 2012 11:39 AM

                why did not your friend order a fish dish, and then get rid of the fish?

                just joking :)

                1. re: ohyouneverknow
                  mackinaw Mar 3, 2012 02:17 PM

                  that's exactly what we should have done.

                  1. re: mackinaw
                    Mandarine Mar 4, 2012 05:39 AM

                    Actually we DID ask for a meal just without the fish component and the chef also refused stating he had standards and had spent time composing the specific plates. I was with this group of 6 and I think the chef was really unreasonable in not trying to accommodate our vegetarian friend in some way.
                    My other comments about the restaurant:
                    The service was not the best. Maybe we made them nervous with our demands for vegetarian food, but my Moules appetizer came surrounded by a soupy sauce that was impossible to eat with a fork and no bread. Having to ask for a spoon, then bread separately was a bit odd. I guess they then felt badly for my vegetarian friend and towards the end of the meal, they tried to slip another basket of bread in front of her and offered her some cheese. Why didn't they offer this in the beginning? By then it was all too late and she was no longer hungry, just put off.....
                    Anyhow, I won't be going back. That was a terrible PR mistake on their part. Accommodating a vegetarian in this day and age is not that hard!

                    1. re: Mandarine
                      m
                      mangoannie Mar 4, 2012 08:42 AM

                      I totally agree, scratched them off my list as attitude is just as important to me as the food, and I am tired of these small places giving stressed out, disorganized service which I recently had at le gros jambon thanks for report :)

    2. b
      bdr Jan 4, 2012 08:32 AM

      I went there last Friday night, and was very happy with the food quality and the service. The Cobia main dish was one of the best fish main dishes I've ever had, Mustard crust really made it work, and there was a lot of food (always a plus) in that dish. Mind you, it was better than the meat dish my wife had. Appetizer salad with roast veal was also excellent.

      amuse bouche were appreciated as well. Desserts good, but not what I'd been led to believe by some reviews.

      And that toilet, I took a picture of the controls. Definitely worth checking out!

      1. o
        ohyouneverknow Nov 24, 2011 09:49 AM

        nice presentation, but really mediocre taste

        they brush sauce on plate to decorate almost every dish they make

        2 Replies
        1. re: ohyouneverknow
          t
          tdiddy23 Nov 24, 2011 02:57 PM

          Have tried a few newish restaurants lately, including this one. I agree about the presentation, very nice, decent service with nice people as well, with a well decorated little space. They have an interesting modest and cheap wine list with many by the glass selections.

          The food did not stand out for us either, we tried a tuna carpaccio which was ok, oysters, venison main which was a nice meat but the whole dish did not really come together, my partner had the blackened salmon which was the worst dish. Deserts including a pistachio chocholate mixture in a cup and their take on apple pie were actually very good, almost made up for the mains. Price was pretty reasonalbe as well (mains low 20s) Would probably give it another try, not sure about top 10 new restaurants in Canada though... went to Chez Chose and Bistro Lusucru recently as well and would have to say i preferred them both.

          -----
          Chez Chose
          4621 St-Denis, Montréal, QC H2V 2L4, CA

          1. re: tdiddy23
            o
            ohyouneverknow Nov 24, 2011 07:35 PM

            agreed. seems to me like there are a lot of restaurants just like Van Horne in Montreal --- michelin star presentation, comfort food taste, or not even.

            something went really wrong with today's cooking schools.

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