Thursday, January 7, 2010

A restaurant review: The Esquire Grill

For date night my husband called ahead to a restaurant we get a discount at for being NPR members. They only had a few openings for dinner on a Wednesday night, so we thought we were in for a treat.
The "treat" ended up disappointing and frustrating.
We don't do fine dining very often, but I know what I want when I go in preparing to spend a little more on dinner than usual.
We arrive on time and are seated quickly. We look over the menu and decided on the shrimp fettuccine, and the ahi salad, we love sea food.
We sit there chatting for an unforgivably long time and finally our server approaches and gets our drink order, followed by another long wait. Eventually he comes back and tells us there are no specials tonight and no fettuccine.
One thing I like about eating at nice restaurants are friendly and informed servers. I don't just want someone to tell me the salmon is nice, I want my server to find out what I like and match my tastes to something on the menu. I want to be sold. I want to have my mouth lusting for the meal before it comes to the table, and sometimes that requires a vivid and enthusiastic description from the server. This server not only took away options but didn't sell us on the options we had, didn't try to convince us that we made the right choice coming there to spend our hard earned money and precious time.
Disappointing to say the least, especially since the menu was scant to begin with.
So I order the ahi salad and my husband orders a small steak. Our food arrived quickly. My salad was piled high with napa cabbage, crispy won-tons, radishes, cashews and four pieces of delicately seared ahi covered in a soy vinaigrette.
My problem with the salad is it was bland, except for the won-tons and the ahi, but the ahi was to heavily pepper encrusted and it took away from the subtlety of the fish. The won-tons were good.
The steak was delicious and came with heavily mashed potatoes, but not vegetables. I guess you can order a five dollar vegetable side, but when you're already spending upwards of $20 on a steak it didn't seem reasonable to make vegetables five dollars extra.
We ate our food and then once again, waited for an unforgivably long time before being helped again.
Eventually he came back and asked if we wanted dessert, we did. So after a long period of time he came back with the dessert menu, curtly said suggest the chocolate cake and left again for a long time. 
Overall, we felt ignored and the food was only so-so.
When the time came for our bill we showed the server our discount card and he didn't know what to do with it. We told him it entitled us to a ten percent discount according to the NPR website. He finally gave us the discount but only after another unforgivably long time trying to figure out how to give a ten percent discount in the computer.

So if you enjoy paying lots of money, being given little choice, minimal portions, and being ignored, you'll love the Esquire Grill at 1213 K Street in Sacramento.

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