Thursday, December 6, 2007

A disappointment...

So, tonight I was invited to join a group of co-workers for dinner at Il Fornaio, a chain of fancy Italian restaurants. The antipasto of different items was decent and I feasted on prosciutto and fresh mozzarella happily and enjoyed a simple mixed green salad. Next came the first disappointment. I ordered a lobster stuffed ravioli topped with shrimp and diced tomatoes in a tomato cream sauce. Honestly, it sucked. The pasta was way underdone, the sauce flavorless and the tiny shrimp probably came to the restaurant pre-cooked.

It continued when I ordered creme brulee which is my absolutely favorite dessert (this coming from a chocolate lover). It came to my table and I discovered that it was topped with a chocolate custard which may have been good but I went in for my first bite, tapping to crack the familiar sugar shell. Nothing. No telltale cracking sound. I tried a different spot and got the same. How is it creme brulee if you don't brulee the top?

Needless to say, this restaurant is definitely on my list of never to return. There are far too many excellent restaurants out there to waste my money and time and calories there. At least this time the company picked up the bill.


Erika W. said...

Hooray! Robyn is blogging! I can't wait to read more. :-)

Sorry your dinner out was a bummer. The lobster ravioli reminds me of Kitchen Nightmares- Gordon Ramsey's new show. He always orders the seafood pasta if there is one, and he always asks if they're made fresh or come frozen. Frequently he is lied to, but I think that would be a fine practice to get into- asking if certain items are fresh or homemade.

Tracy said...

Glad to see you're blogging! Hope you enjoy it.

Your restaurant review reminds me why I try to stay away from the big chain restaurants -- even the good ones. The quality can be quite spotty.

Robyn said...

Erika, that's a good idea, I'll give it a try. I don't often order seafood pastas but this sounded good. Oh, well.

Tracy, I agree, I prefer a lot of independent restaurants or smaller chains but this really surprised me. Especially the darn creme brulee.

ClaireWalter said...

I think that Tracy is being kind when she writes that chain restaurant "quality can be spotty." IMHO, chains appeal to the lowest-common denominator -- and the cheaper the chain, the lower that denominator is. More than independent restaurants, which may switch to less expensive cuts of meat or less expensive seafood but prepare them properly, the marketing people at restaurant chains push for ingredients they can brag about while the bean counters want costs "contained." The result is substandard ingredients that sound better than they are.

Claire @

Robyn said...

Claire, I tend to agree with you. There is one Colorado based family of restaurants that I think does a decent job of keeping food at a consistent level. It's not a place that I go to get wowed but it's one that I know I can count on to feed me satisfactorily. Other than that, chains are just as you have said I think. Especially the "upscale" chains.