after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

“they changed my f*ing soup!!”

with 2 comments

t says:  Recently, a, v, and I had a very sad dinner.  By the end of our time there, our souls had been crushed.  It was like finding out Santa Claus isn’t real, that your dad isn’t the strongest man in the world, and that, indeed, no matter how hard you try, you will never fly … all in the same meal.  We didn’t know if we should mourn in sadness, scream in terror, or shout in anger.  And it all started because yours truly wanted to go out to dinner on a Thursday night …

Thursday Dinner, July 2013, Table of 3.  a and v had just returned from Ireland (and more).  I pulled out some wine, they pulled out some wine, and we chose to eat at a “safe” favorite.  We ordered a bunch of “oldies”.  A server we recognized and had had before opened up our wine.  We buckled up for what was essentially an easy “win” of a dinner …

boy were we wrong …

bigtime …

Garces Trading Company just kept screwing up … again and again …

– v’s tomato soup: acidic and off-balanced
– a’s vichyssoise: an unappealing brown-grey in appearance; clumpy, viscous on the spoon; gritty in the mouth; it was like they changed it from a delicious creamy soup to a peculiar puree of sad potatoes

– v’s duck salad: someone forgot how to poach an egg properly (i.e. it was cooked through completely … i mean I could do that!); the confit, despite being a confit, somehow lacked the moistness one would expect from something cooked in fat …
– t’s “unlimited” steak frites: the steak was grey, bland, and limp; the Bordelaise sauce was unusually sweet; the au poivre sauce was nonexistent (as they forgot to bring it)
– a’s fish: fish was overcooked (although the puree of pea accompanying it was pretty tasty!)

In retrospect, the only dishes that went unscathed that evening were the salad that was part of my steak frites (which is a very simple salad – a few greens and a light dressing) and the “artichoke appetizer”.  Wait.  Scratch that.  The artichokes didn’t have much going on aside from “artichoke” – that’s pretty darn lackluster!  Consider it scathed!

Conversations included such quotable quotes like:
a protests: “they changed my f*ing soup!”; t explains: I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a so disappointed, ever. … but can you blame him?  It was his favorite.  He literally (literally) orders that same soup every time he goes to GTC … and now … with every aspect of the soup that made it so remarkable before now gone, he has only his memories of his previous joy and happiness.  So sad.  He requested that I annotate his “flavors of the month” to reflect his broken heart.

a politely inquires: “soooo … are you guys using a different recipe?”; t explains: a tried to be very polite and tactful in inquiring about what had happened to his beloved soup.  We were informed by our waitress that they “went through a menu change a month or so ago”, to which we all nodded and said “oh, ok”, as if that was a reasonable explanation … Seriously?  A “menu change”?  If you “change the menu”, shouldn’t you change the items and not just keep the same dishes but make them worse?

a exclaims: “i’m going to go to the bathroom while you wait for your f*ing steak!”; t explains: While my steak frites were technically unlimited, they were indeed limited because the servers took forever for refills.  They actually tried on several occasions to clear a’s and v’s plates while I tried to flag down our main server to request additional meat … but to be honest, I really only requested a refill to see if maybe the second round would have been cooked better … it wasn’t.  Actually, it featured quite a stripe of sinew that was so tough it resisted every attempt my [reasonably sharp] steak knife made to sever it.  Crazy!

Soooo … the food wasn’t quite “up to snuff” this trip.  And while I’m normally the guy who says, “yea everything’s great!” whenever a server comes around to ask “how are things?”, I felt that this time was an exception.  Devastated that they had just robbed me of one of the “sure-to-be-great” meals in the city (seriously – the $25 all-you-can-eat-steak used to be amazing!), I just had to let someone know.  I very politely flagged down our waitress and expressed my concerns about our food.  I avoided blaming her (i.e. “we know it’s totally not your fault, but we just really wanted to express our concerns about the kitchen”) and calmy and nicely demonstrated that each dish had issues with it … including the knife-immune piece of meat in front of me.  She apologized on behalf of the kitchen, which was big of her, took my dish and walked away.  Not five minutes later, the ?GM? came out and kinda-sorta-defended the kitchen with a “we’re sorry about your experience with the steak – you know, flat iron steaks can have those pieces of sinew in them” – I didn’t pick a fight, I told him I understood completely and that indeed, such a problem is unavoidable (i.e. I lied).  I guess he felt that our concerns were limited to my steak … but then he came back another five minutes later and comp’d my steak and v’s duck salad (apparently, a’s vichysoisse wasn’t enough of a travesty for it to be free, although out of all the dishes, it was probably the worst).

So I guess I have to give GTC some props for trying to understand a customer’s point of view.  Be that as it may, comp or not, the truth is that I know that a, v, and I will not be dying to go back to GTC anytime soon.  As a matter of fact, I have no choice but to actively dissuade people from going because I’m afriad that if I suggest that they go and then they proceed to have this caliber of meal, they might think that I thought it was sublime … and then never talk to me again.  I’m sorry Jose – you’ve lost some customers, at least until we grow up and forget all about our broken dreams …

Written by afterdinnersneeze

25 July 2013 at 6:11pm

2 Responses

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    • this is tough to hear. I took your previous recommendation and took the out-laws to GTC back in January where we had a lovely meal (steak frites au poivre).

      – brent


    26 July 2013 at 9:15am

    • I agree – they had some awesome food not-that-long-ago.
      To be fair, a has returned once more since the above post (he had made a previous engagement to go there and couldn’t change plans at the last minute) and found that the meat was seasoned a bit better that time – but fundamentally the issue is a lack of sear on the outside.

      BUT – I’m glad you and your out-laws enjoyed it!


      26 July 2013 at 9:19am

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