Amanda Huginkiss (amandahuginkiss) wrote in nc_foods,
Amanda Huginkiss

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Disappointing new restaurant

My husband and I had been hearing great things about a "hot new restaurant" , The Peak City Grill in downtown Apex. We decided to take my mother in-law there for dinner this evening and are sad to report that we were thoroughly disappointed by the experience.

We got there just before the restaurant opened for dinner, so we sat at the bar and ordered a couple of drinks. My husband's beer was completely flat. When he pointed this out to the bartender, instead of replacing it with a new beer, he started defending it. He claimed that it was a "really good pour" and that the head must have gone down when he "just turned around for a second" to pour my drink (which btw, was flavourless and well short of a full pour). We pointed out that there weren't even any bubbles rising from the beer. Again, he claimed that it was perfectly fine and walked away.

The hostess then came over and told us that our table was ready. My MIL had a coffee and a glass of water. I had a drink and a glass of water, and my husband had his flat beer. My MIL has MS and it's evident to anyone who sees her that she's not steady on her feet. Instead of offering to help her move our drinks to our table, the hostess instead stood there looking at us impatiently while we struggled to juggle our glasses and her drinks as well. When I mentioned that my MIL's coffee was hot and would appreciate some help, she absent-mindedly muttered "Oh, sorry" as she walked away.

At that point, we were still hoping that the food would make up for the lousy service. For starters, they gave us a basket of "crackerbread", served with Boursin cheese and red pepper jelly. The "crackerbread" was actually broken bits of cheap water crakers. At least the Boursin was good.

We decided to try the Tuna Ceviche appetizer. The portion was generous enough, but it was served with only three tiny tortilla chips. As we dug into the ceviche, we quickly realized that there was very little "Catch of the Day" fish and it was mostly onions. Then again, maybe it was a blessing in disguise, as I've never seen dark brown tuna before.

I ordered the Navy Bean and Ham soup of the day. It was unremarkable at best. There was very little "soup" to speak of, and it appeared as if they simply heated up a can of beans with some chopped deli slices of ham.

Still, we clung on to the hope that the entrees would wow us.

I ordered the Pumpkin Risotto, served with sauteed shrimps. As soon as the plate arrived, we all knew that something was wrong. Immediately, my husband commented that "It looks more like fried rice than risotto" Sadly, he was right. The "risotto" was completely dry. There was no liquid, no creaminess, not even the slightest bit of sauce. The "pumpkin" part of the dish consisted of nothing more than tiny flecks of orange matter. Otherwise, the risotto was just plain white rice - there were no other ingredients and certainly no flavour. One bite into the dish and it was clear that the so-called risotto was made with long grain rice, which (provided there was any liquid), cannot absorb the liquid in a real risotto the way that arborio rice can.

A manager-type gentleman suddenly appeared at our table to ask if anything was wrong. He didn't do it in a concerned, but an almost accusatory tone. We explained our "issues" and he immediately launched into a defense of the dish. He claimed that it looked fine to him. When we described the obvious problems with that statement, he started making some flimsy excuse about how it had been a very busy night (the restaurant had just opened for the evening) and the chef may have had to substitute the risotto for another dish. We found this rather implausible since the Pumpkin Risotto was not listed as a side dish but as the pasta special of the day. He made a half-hearted offer to check with the kitchen staff. Despite our obvious discontent with the dish, he made no offer to correct the problem or to replace it with a different entree.

Our server then stepped in an offered to help. We explained the problem to her once again. She stood there baffled. She explained that she would have to take our word on what risotto should be like, because she had never heard of it before. We were appalled that the wait staff of a such a supposedly sophisticated establishment would be allowed to work the floor with absolutely no knowledge of their specials.

At least she offered to replace my dish with a different choice. Just then, the manager-type dude came upstairs, pronounced that he'd checked with the kitchen and as far as they were concerned, the risotto was fine. He plopped down a shaker of parmesan cheese then left. Again, no apology or offer to replace my dish.

My husband ordered the beef medalions with layered potatoes. It was quite tasty, so I ordered that dish instead.

My mother in-law ordered the grilled wild salmon special,also with the layered potatoes. In short, the salmon was fried, not grilled. Every bite of the fish was greasy. Now, I realize that salmon tends to be a fatty fish but there's a difference between fatty and greasy. This was decidedly GREASY.

Throughout all of this, our server seemed very anxious to serve and clear our table as quickly as possible, so that she could return to the congregation of slacker servers gossiping by the serving station. During our entire meal, we watched this group of "workers" stand around to complain about and mock the restaurant patrons. We didn't have to strain ourselves to hear what they were saying as they were doing this in plain view and earshot of the entire upper level.

Desperate to do something to salvage our experience, we decided to try some of the dessert. Wary of our experience thus far, we decided to split just one order of their peachberry cobbler. This, too, was a mistake. The "cobbler" tasted more like some junior high home-ec project gone terribly wrong. The "topping" was a soggy, scone-like substance with cheddar melted on top. As for the "peachberry" part, we were originally assured that it was a mix of peaches and blackberries but all we found was one tiny broken morsel of canned peach and one anemic-looking nondescript berry-type substance at the bottom of the dish. Otherwise, all we found was more soggy scone-like stuff. The cobbler was topped by a disproportionately large scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. I can't say that I actually saw any evidence of vanilla bean in the ice cream, but unlike the rest of the dish, at least it was edible.

We left the restaurant thoroughly disgusted. As we descended the staircase towards the main entrance, we looked onto the kitchen. Not surprisingly, the kitchen was in chaos. Everything and everyone in it was completely disorganized and in a state of disarray.

In summary, if you want to treat yourself to poor service, bad beer, incompetently prepared food and a clueless staff, this is the place for you.

If you actually value your hard-earned money enough to expect competent service and well-prepared food from a restaurant, run far, far away from the Peak City Grill.
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