Post by CMF Newsman on Nov 15, 2008 10:11:21 GMT -5
We went to Blacksmith’s Bistro & Bar at 3914 St. Elmo Avenue with high hopes of having a great dinner.
We drove out to St. Elmo and found the restaurant just across from the Incline. As we entered, there was no one (or no sign) to tell us if we were to seat ourselves or wait to be seated. We waited a few minutes and, when no one acknowledged us, we took one of the several empty tables and seated ourselves.
After being there for approximately 10 minutes, a server came over and asked, “Has anyone come over to talk to you?” No, no one had, so she said she would notify our server. I was hoping for someone to take our order rather than to “talk” to us. It wasn’t long before a server came over with several pieces of paper, one menu and two wine lists. She said, “Oops, I brought two wine lists instead of menus. I’ll be back.” She returned a few minutes later, laid the menu down, and took off. Not only did she not “talk” to us, she didn’t even acknowledge that we might want something to drink! No drink order, no nothin’.
Wayne and I looked over the menu and had plenty of time to decide what we wanted. We both agreed that the Crab and Leek Fondue ($9) (although the seared quail for $7 sounded tempting) would be our appetizer.
I also agree with your overall assessment of the restaurant, even tho I've never been there.
Look at it this way -- many restaurant reviewers go back a second or third time to sample different dishes and see what the typical level of service is. However, the average diner WILL NOT go back if the service or food is substandard, and they'll tell everyone they know about their experience. The owner of this restaurant should consider himself blessed to have gotten a chance to correct some deficiencies. I hope he'll do that, rather than going on the defensive like some of the commenters in the Chattanoogan did. They sound to me like they had a personal stake in the place.
Some of the things she was talking about didn't fit me - restaurants NEVER know who we are when we are doing a review - and I've never put my picture with any of my articles. Bob knows how I hate to even have my picture taken. I was at a photo shoot at his house with plenty of make-up and hairstyling going on, but I could not make myself get in front of the camera.
Last Edit: Nov 18, 2008 20:11:51 GMT -5 by cdojanet
Post by scanchattanooga on Nov 23, 2008 2:46:51 GMT -5
So between Janet's bad review (well, review of the service), and Anne Braly's good review in Friday's newspaper, the wife and I decided to check out Blacksmith's. We were going to be in the area anyhow as I'd scored some free passes to Rock City and we figured this would be a nice date night thing.
Disclaimer: no connection to the restaurant by either of us. So there you go.
Our timing couldn't have been better as we nabbed one of just two remaining tables and were seated pretty promptly after entering. They had a full house, around 40 customers by my unscientific count.
We both decided on the kobe beef burger. I like burgers (really like 'em) and hadn't ever tried Kobe, so I figured this was a cheap opportunity. Tonya loves blue cheese and they offered that as an extra, so she was sold.
We both got our drinks (Coke and a sweet tea) in a reasonable time considering the crowd, which was keeping the three servers and bartender occupied, and after about 20 minutes our burgers arrived. They come with a side of fries, served in the Belgian tradition in a paper cone.
The burgers come on a toasted bun that stood up well to the juice runoff, and are topped with a thin layer of mayo and mustard, plus boston lettuce, slices of cherry tomato, and onion. I tossed the onion to the side and got to work.
I gotta say that I'm impressed with the kobe beef. It has a nice texture, was quite juicy, and had a wonderful taste - like regular beef, but with some flavor. The thinly-sliced fries make an addictive complement to the burger.
About 45 minutes later, we were back in the car, heading home comfortably full but not stuffed. Our meal came to $25 including tax (but not tip - and hey, that's your call). Would we go back? Absolutely.
Should Janet and Wayne give the place another chance? Sure. I say this having watched my dad chase down a server into a kitchen once (this server pretty much tried to ignore us), but we ended up getting very good service, and a discount on the meal, so it was worth it. Plus, I laughed my ass off. My mom was completely mortified.
I should add that even with all I've written, this isn't my favorite burger. I still think Ruby Tuesday's bison burger (no cheese, no bacon) is the best, but I just really enjoy that bison meat! Bald Headed Bistro had a bison NY strip last year that was DIVINE.
Post by Longshot! [ Saint ] on Dec 3, 2008 5:33:35 GMT -5
The irrational ranting (as much as I appreciate it -- hypocrisy noted) was a bigger turn-off than Janet's review. It went from appearing to be a poorly run joint, to a poorly run joint frequented by Maniacs.
If I take my car to a repair shop and they fuck it completely up, by what logic should I go there again to give them an opportunity to 'do it right' before I am 'ALLOWED' to complain about it? What a complete load of shit!
Stray and I took the wives (it was a long time ago) to a 'nice restaurant' and received service worse than an 18th century leper colony could provide. We did a LOT more than give it a 'bad review', and if I divulged those details I'd literally have to arrest myself. Janet went in, gave them a shot, and they BLEW it. How the FUCK is Janet "The Bad Guy" in this scenario based on those Chattnoogan comments? Feh.
I'm not saying to padlock the joint; go, eat like hell there and dance and poop on the tables (but trust me, never poop THEN dance on the tables--I'll tell you about it later), and I hope it becomes the Starbucks of the 00's and takes over world finances. But do NOT give Janet shit about THEM fucking things up during a blind review.
"Why my magic toaster no come on? I plug in, but no toast..."
This past Sunday I met #1 Son at Blacksmith's Bistro and we had the Sunday brunch. Moderate crowd, prompt service, good food - ham omelet for me, with good home fries and fruit, for Firstborn, eggs over easy, same potatoes and fruit - and prices pretty much in line with other such places. One drink apiece, tab with tip under $30.00.
Full disclosure: Blacky is a cousin and by way of being a friend as well to my son.
And then the windows failed, and then I could not see to see
We had eaten at Blacksmith’s a few times in the past; a couple of lunches and a brunch. Service had always been accurate and timely and the food well prepared. Noteworthy were the creative quiches which seem to have had egg whites folded in to give an almost soufflé texture. Soups were good, but inconsistent and a bit dear at $4 a cup. We have recently gone for dinner.
We were using a gift coupon from restaurant.com, which I strongly disrecommend. The copy I had downloaded and printed wasn’t sufficient. However, the manageress was extremely helpful and allowed us use of the office computer to get the required information.
The wooden table was a bit sticky from long use. Unpleasant. A coat of plastic would be more hygienic and easier to clean. The menu was much reduced from previous visits, and is used for lunch and dinner, perhaps a reflection of the owner’s involvement with their infant. Our server(s) were quite attentive and engaging even tho most customers had chosen to eat outside on the patio.
The limited menu held little interest for me, so I ordered the steak with au poivre sauce only to be told they were out of the sauce. ( Steak au poivre is lightly crusted with crushed pepper sautéed and the pan deglazed with brandy. Were they out of pepper corns?) Truffle butter was the other option. The generous piece of properly cooked steak was surrounded by an equally generous layer of fat. The truffle butter needed coaxing to melt, but the resulting flavors were pleasant. The fries, served in a paper cone were good, but lost their crispness below the first layer or so. Pan seared salmon with romesco sauce over polenta cake was spot on; well cooked fish, matched with an unobtrusive sauce. A well conceived and executed dish.
With a glass of wine our tab was about $25 per person.
Numerous writers on this and other forums have reported poor, slow service and aggressively rude behavior from the owners. We have not experienced this, although the owners were not on premises when we had dinner there. None the less, the consistency of the bad reports may give you pause. And it is an individual decision if the food is worth the price. However, I know of no better place to eat in the St. Elmo area.