Vincent on Camelback's
Well, Chef Vincent changed things, and pretty drastically, not that long ago. I was a bigger fan of the "old" Vincent's, including the wine list, but there is one dish, that I will never pass on - the Duck Tamales. Chef has asked why I always settle on that dish, and my answer is always, "If I die tomorrow, and did not have those tamales, my life would be a waste." Gong back, there were some great French Syrahs, that paired perfectly with them, but the wine list has been pared down fairly drastically.
We've done the new menu (and wine list), but I still pine for the old menu and the old wine list, but that is just me.
Unmitigated Disaster - We will never be back again, and I would have to recommend (after this experience) for no one to go there either.
Upon entering the restaurant, we were not so kindly greeted by a white haired woman at the front desk. Our reservation was for 7PM, and we got there at 6:55PM. The disgruntled lady tells us to sit in the lobby until it's closer to 7PM... Since when did showing up a few minutes early become a nuisance? Moving forward, we headed towards the lobby to find eight people also waiting to be seated. A little unusual for a Tuesday night, but no big deal - until twenty minutes passed until we were finally seated. I understand that restaurants can get busy, but a simple "I'm sorry for the wait" would have gone a long way.
There were two dining areas and we were placed in the larger room. Several tables were available, so I didn't understand the long wait. Anyway, there's an old-fashioned quality to this place... not good or bad. The chairs were uncomfortable and the carpet looked unkempt, but we were there for the food.
As suggested by a reviewer on Chow Hound, we sampled the Duck Tamales. Sorry Bill - Unfortunately, there was nothing special about this dish. It wasn't great, but it wasn't horrible either.
While waiting for the main dishes to arrive, it got extremely cold in the restaurant. We hear the staff complaining about the temperature, and then we see another couple complaining to the host about how cold it was on their side of the room.
Finally, dinner arrives... I ordered the wild boar cooked to medium rare. It tasted medium-well to well done. The waiter stated that this dish comes with five large medallions, but looking at the dish, there were thinly shaved bits of meat. This dish reminded me of the over-cooked roast beef that my dad used to make when we were kids (which I hated, by the way).
My wife ordered the braised short ribs which tasted like something that came out of a microwave. She tells me, "For the price of this meal, I'd rather eat a microwaveable meal." I tried a piece of the short ribs thinking it couldn't be that bad... WRONG. The short ribs were chewy, stringy, and although it was covered in sauce, it was DRY. We hardly put a dent in our meal.
While waiting for our missing waiter, we noticed that the restaurant was starting to get really warm - similar to a gym. We both started laughing at how horrible everything had been. We were finally able to flag down the waiter for our check. He never once asked us how our meal was - even after seeing our plates were more than half full.
Anyway, the moral of the story is: Don't waste your money here. Or perhaps call in advance to make sure Vincent is working. While waiting for our car, the valet guy said, "Vincent is on vacation. His food is phenomenal, but when he's not here, we hear customer complaints." Maybe this guy is right, and Vincent's food is out-of-this-world; however, based on the service alone, I will not even bother coming back. No second chances for this place - no thanks!
- Mr. and Mrs. Dapuma
Mrs Dapuma is a much better writer than I am :)
I am still mad about everything today
I was thinking today of why we didnt send back the food, but the waiter wasn't around to check on us after they delivered the food to even complain about the meal - probably should have said something but i think we were in shock about how bad everything had been to even say anything, we just wanted out of there fast as possible
Sorry about that episode. Over the decades, we have only had to wait for a moment, whether just the two of us, or a board dinner for 20.
The Duck Tamales have always been great for us, and are one of our very favorite dishes.
I have never had the wild boar, but my wife has, and love it. In each case, it was perfectly prepared to medium-rare.
The Short-ribs are a big, big favorite with us, and actually the paradigm, by which all others are judged. Most do not even come close to Chef Vincent's. Something sounds greatly amiss in the kitchen that night.
That is not the Vincent's (even the "new" Vincent's), that I have come to expect. So sorry for your horrible meal, and horrible on many fronts.
Thanks for the report, however much it pains me to read - being the fan, that I am.