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Old 05-10-2003, 07:59 PM
Siobhan Perricone
 
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As a sort of a break from things, we've been eating out a fair amount this
last week. Our anniversary was last Monday, and we just took the weekend
"off". It has seemed to me that the meals we had were decent. Certainly
not bad, but, well, one place had mashed potatoes that really needed help.
How can they justify charging me $25 for an entree that has completely
uninteresting mashed potatoes? Ok, maybe they were trying to recreate some
British thing (the place we had this at bills itself as high end British
fare).

Maybe that's what it was. These were British mashed potatoes. But they
*really* needed some butter, maybe a bit of cream. They were sooooo bland.
I've never bought the idea that British food is bland. The individual beef
wellington I had was wonderful, maybe that's what I was paying $25 for, but
I was just disappointed that everything wasn't spectacular. My husband
didn't care for his sausages and mash. Again, bland mashed tatties, and
the sausages were too herby. Not gristley or anything, just not a flavour
he appreciated. Though, honestly, they were probably good sausages, just
not to his taste. We had lovely carmelized pirogies with a balsamic sauce
as appetizers, but the hoison sauce on the wild boars ribs was, eh... the
ribs themselves were just eh. The onion soup was actually disappointing.
For what I paid for it, I expected a LOT more cheese on it. I get more
cheese on onion soup at the family restaurants around here.

Maybe I'm just a visigoth and I can't appreciate the foods properly.

--
Siobhan Perricone
"Ok, I know a whole generation has been raised on a notion of
multiculturalism. That all civilisations are just different.
No, not always. Sometimes things are better. Rule of law
is better than autocracy and theocracy. Equality of the
sexes - Better. Protection of minorities - Better. Free
speech - Better. Free elections - Better. Free appliances
with large purchases - Better. Don't get so tolerant that
you tolerate intolerance." - Bill Maher

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Old 06-10-2003, 03:53 PM
jmcquown
 
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Siobhan Perricone wrote:
As a sort of a break from things, we've been eating out a fair amount
this last week. Our anniversary was last Monday, and we just took
the weekend "off". It has seemed to me that the meals we had were
decent. Certainly not bad, but, well, one place had mashed potatoes
that really needed help. How can they justify charging me $25 for an
entree that has completely uninteresting mashed potatoes?

(snip)

Can't quite see myself ordering mashed potatoes in a "fancy" restaurant.
This probably came as a side to the individual Wellington you mentioned.
(Glad that was good!) Mashed potatoes is something I expect from a
homestyle diner. I'm not surprised you were disappointed; perhaps they
haven't figured out how to dumb down and make decent mashed 'taters with
yes, plenty of butter and cream, and don't hold back on the salt & pepper!

Jill


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Old 06-10-2003, 08:22 PM
Karen O'Mara
 
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Siobhan Perricone wrote in message . ..
Again, bland mashed tatties, and
the sausages were too herby. Not gristley or anything, just not a flavour
he appreciated. Though, honestly, they were probably good sausages, just
not to his taste. We had lovely carmelized pirogies with a balsamic sauce
as appetizers, but the hoison sauce on the wild boars ribs was, eh... the
ribs themselves were just eh.


Plain mashed potatoes are to compliment the accompanying meat. If the
potatoes were fancy, they'd fight the other flavors.

Plain potatoes have a place and time.

Karen
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Old 06-10-2003, 09:02 PM
PENMART01
 
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(Karen O'Mara) writes:

Plain mashed potatoes are to compliment the accompanying meat. If the
potatoes were fancy, they'd fight the other flavors.

Plain potatoes have a place and time.


Fresh dug potatoes are always best prepared and eaten as plain as possible,
preferably with nothing added (perhaps a bit of salt, but not even that is
necessary)... people who gussy up their spuds either don't really like the
taste of potatoes (good spuds taste earthy) or have never had the pleasure of
eating freshly dug spuds... old storage and/or diseased spuds need all the
condiments they can get to become palatable... so if yer gonna salt, butter,
cheese, pepper, chive, cream, egg, bacon, parsley, etc. them, then you may as
well eat dyhys... at least those were fresh dug and disease-free when
processed, and taste more like potato than gussied crapola.


---= BOYCOTT FRENCH--GERMAN (belgium) =---
---= Move UNITED NATIONS To Paris =---
Sheldon
````````````
"Life would be devoid of all meaning were it without tribulation."

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Old 06-10-2003, 11:54 PM
Alex Rast
 
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at Sun, 05 Oct 2003 18:59:49 GMT in
,
(Siobhan Perricone) wrote :

As a sort of a break from things, we've been eating out a fair amount
this last week. ...well, one place had mashed potatoes that really
needed help. How can they justify charging me $25 for an entree that has
completely uninteresting mashed potatoes? ...


Although one can always hope that everything on the plate will be a
transporting experience, you can't expect that when you go into a
restaurant. The chances that the kitchen will prepare all foods so that
they happen to align with your exact tastes are very remote. As for the
price, much of that depends on the cost structure of the dish. See below
for more explanation in your particular case.

That being said, you *should* expect that at a fine restaurant there will
be no major miscues. If the potatoes were downright bad, this would be
justifiable reason for a complaint.

Maybe that's what it was. These were British mashed potatoes. But they
*really* needed some butter, maybe a bit of cream. They were sooooo
bland. ...


You could always have added butter to taste. And perhaps that's what they
were thinking. How much butter goes on mashed potatoes is a very
individualized thing. I would prefer very little, perhaps none; my sister
wants the potatoes virtually swimming in butter. For the restaurant to make
an arbitrary choice for the diner makes it nearly impossible for them to
get it right for everyone. So, allowing individual diners to choose how
much butter to add would be, IMHO, a "finer" serving method: then
*everyone* can get it how they might want it, at least on the butter front.

...individual beef wellington I had was wonderful, maybe that's what I was
paying $25 for, ...


That's *exactly* what you were paying for. The raw ingredients for beef
Wellington are terrifyingly expensive (beef tenderloin, foie gras), and the
labour involved is Herculean (you have to make puff pastry, then partially
roast the meat, then wrap everything, then bake some more). Meanwhile the
raw ingredients for plain mashed potatoes are spectacularly cheap
(potatoes, perhaps milk), and the labour is minimal (peel, boil, mash). I'd
guess that the mashed potatoes might have represented at most 5% of the
total cost of the plate.

... but I was just disappointed that everything wasn't
spectacular. ...


Finally, I think you may need to get a more realistic idea of the price
point where you really *can* expect everything to be spectacular. A lot
depends on where you are, of course, but $25 for a main course isn't yet in
the super-high-end range in very many places in the USA. Here in Seattle,
$25 would be a standard price for a "quality" restaurant - not exceptional,
certainly not world-class, merely a decent place to have a good meal that's
above the level of, say, an Olive Garden. The price where you really do
start breaking into the great restaurants is about $40 for a main course.
Other places in the USA may well have lower dividing lines, but I've seen
they're not much lower - my experience is that the high end starts
somewhere about $35-$55.

That's not to say there won't be restaurants that are absolutely world
class for much less, and it's always delightful when you find one of those,
but below about $35/main course the statistical probability that a
restaurant will actually be out-of-this-world falls to the level where that
restaurant will rank as a "discovery".

Summarizing, I think you were disappointed because you went in with
preconceived expectations of what the experience was going to be like. I
prefer not to anticipate too much in advance how good a restaurant will be.
That way, if it's great, it's a wonderful surprise, and if it's simply
good, it's a low-stress enjoyable evening.

--
Alex Rast

(remove d., .7, not, and .NOSPAM to reply)


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Old 07-10-2003, 12:02 AM
Nancy Young
 
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Alex Rast wrote:

You could always have added butter to taste. And perhaps that's what they
were thinking. How much butter goes on mashed potatoes is a very
individualized thing. I would prefer very little, perhaps none; my sister
wants the potatoes virtually swimming in butter. For the restaurant to make
an arbitrary choice for the diner makes it nearly impossible for them to
get it right for everyone. So, allowing individual diners to choose how
much butter to add would be, IMHO, a "finer" serving method: then
*everyone* can get it how they might want it, at least on the butter front.

...individual beef wellington I had was wonderful, maybe that's what I was
paying $25 for, ...


And yet, from time to time, there are threads where people insist, the
chef served the food the way they want to, it's their creativity.
No, not even salt and pepper on the table. Don't change the dish
one iota. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't like plain mashed potatoes
either, just saying, you can't win. Me, I'd have salted peppered and
buttered the mashed potatoes, even if I had to ask for butter.

nancy
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Old 07-10-2003, 04:30 AM
DRB
 
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"Karen O'Mara" wrote in message
om...
Plain potatoes have a place and time.

Karen


Yes, but there are differnet degrees of plain... IMO, milk, a little
butter, a little salt is just going to make potatoes edible... Boiled,
smashed up potatoes with nothing on them are little bit too plain...


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Old 07-10-2003, 01:49 PM
Greg Zywicki
 
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Siobhan Perricone wrote in message . ..
one place had mashed potatoes that really needed help.

(the place we had this at bills itself as high end British
fare).

My husband didn't care for his sausages and mash. Again, bland mashed tatties, and
the sausages were too herby.
We had lovely carmelized pirogies with a balsamic sauce
as appetizers, but the hoison sauce on the wild boars ribs was, eh... the
ribs themselves were just eh.
The onion soup was actually disappointing.
For what I paid for it, I expected a LOT more cheese on it. I get more
cheese on onion soup at the family restaurants around here.

Sounds like you got trapped in a restaurant with no clear mission.
Beef Wellington next to Bangers and Mash? Two different classes of
cuisine. Pirogies? Slavic food with British food. Balsamic Vinegar?
Misused mediteranean condiment on Slavic food next to British food
(of multiple classes.) Wild boar's ribs? Add on-mid european hunter
style. With Hoisin? Add on regional Chinese condiment. Your meal
consisted of no less than six disparate cuisines. You were lucky to
have an enjoyable meal at all.

Not that mixing cuisines is wrong, per se. Just that it's sometimes
evidence of confusion in the kitchen, especially when there are
multiple cooking methods mixed with multiple cuisines and ingredients
(as opposed to, say, a seafood restaraunt that takes one set of main
ingredients and offers a variety of preps, or a restaurant built
around roasting or grilling or stirfrying a variety of ingredients.)

Greg Zywicki
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Old 07-10-2003, 03:02 PM
Reid©
 
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Following up to Siobhan Perricone

How can they justify charging me $25 for an entree that has completely
uninteresting mashed potatoes? Ok, maybe they were trying to recreate some
British thing (the place we had this at bills itself as high end British
fare).

Maybe that's what it was. These were British mashed potatoes. But they
*really* needed some butter, maybe a bit of cream. They were sooooo bland.


Quite a lot of top end British restaurants would do bangers and
mash, its quite a fashionable thing over the last couple of years
to pick up on trad things and will appear on menus along side
lobster creations or whatever. Harvey Nicks 5th floor did it last
time I was there.
I would expect the sausages to be nice and herby and the potato
to be pretty plain (how plain yours were is impossible to judge
electronically). I wouldn't expect cream or amounts of butter
that really "noticed". I would expect something like an onion
gravy with it and it would be common for the mash to be flavoured
with something, a herb, horseradish, mustard.
At the end of the day a place cannot please everyone I suppose.
--
Mike Reid
"Art is the lie that reveals the truth" P.Picasso
UK walking "http://www.fellwalk.co.uk" -- you can email [email protected] this site
Spain,cuisines and walking "http://www.fell-walker.co.uk" -- [email protected] all, it's a spamtrap
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Old 09-10-2003, 10:38 PM
Karen O'Mara
 
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"DRB" wrote in message . com...
Yes, but there are differnet degrees of plain... IMO, milk, a little
butter, a little salt is just going to make potatoes edible... Boiled,
smashed up potatoes with nothing on them are little bit too plain...


Gee, if they were Yukon golds, the butter and flavor is part of their
genetic makeup, imo.

Karen


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