Running Scared: Observations of a Former Republican
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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Friday, February 11, 2005

Adventures in Dining

posted by Jazz at 2/11/2005 07:26:00 PM


CAUTION: Non-political post incoming. But it's social, so there you go.

You know... ever since I started reading Waiter Rant, I seem to obsess about dining out. Not in a bad way, mind you. It's just... obsessive.

(Side note: You can read the latest rant here. It's less of a look at problems with customers, and more of a view of the sick humor that can go on with the wait staff among themselves. You have been warned.)

Tonight we had another Adventure in Dining. I took my wife out for Valentines dinner. (Her job makes evenings tough during the week, so we have to celebrate early.) As I posted here previously, there's really only one five star restaurant in our area, plus two really good Japanese sushi places. However, a friend of ours who owns a local tavern we frequent told us about a newer place which opened that was supposed to be on par with the other top notch joint. With some doubt in my mind, I made reservations for a Friday early dinner for two. This evening we dressed up nicely and set out to explore it.

The name of the establishment is "P.S." I'm not sure exactly what they were going for with the name, but the chef and half owner is apparently a respected, accredited chef of good repute, so my hopes were up. The only problem was, as I mentioned earlier, that I keep having Waiter Rant flashbacks now when I go out to eat. Not only am I evaluating the restaurant, but I'm evaluating the wait staff while I wonder about how they are sizing up me.

We arrived and found that the location was something less than I thought might be desired for a top end eatery. It was in a smaller "strip mall" type building off of a larger strip mall. It shared a building with a grocery store, and the restaurant entrance was inside the building interior hallway with a big grocery store sign over the outside entryway. This took away, somewhat, from the initial impression.

The windows, interior and exterior, were blinded over so it blocked the view of the rest of the strip mall atmosphere, which helped. Upon entering, we saw a comfortable, though small looking lounge which was nice. Our table, however, was crowded in with a bunch of others in a room that looked as if it was a bank in a previous life. There were a number of nice decorations and artwork which added a lot, but I couldn't escape the feeling that I was in a bank lobby.

Our waitress was simply amazing - clean, personable, and a great personality. The presentation was fantastic... the service was top notch. The food however, had a few glitches. Mine was excellent. I had one of the specials for an appetizer - pan fried shrimp on guacamole served on a cracker of some sort. Hard to eat, but very tasty. I had chicken a la' orange (pardon the spelling) for a main course. They were both excellent.

My wife had the foie gras in an amazing sauce for an appetizer. Her main course, however, was a tuna steak that was advertised as "seared" but was cooked hard straight through. So, all in all, the food was mostly very good, but with some shortcomings. The atmosphere was simply not there.

We got the bill, which was less than at the five star, and seemed reasonable. It was $83, and after some soul searching with Waiter Rant in mind, I left a $22 tip. That wasn't high roller generosity, but I thought it was good and the waitress earned it, even if the design of the place and the food didn't rate a top notch comment. I suppose I was thinking more of her than of the chef and owner.

Bottom line... blogs can change how you look at ordinary aspects of life. In this case, I think it was in a positive way.