I love going out to eat and sampling new cuisines and restaurants – I spend way too much money on food, but who cares? To live is to eat! That being said, there is nothing worse then being overcharged for crappy food, there’s no excuse!
During the summer and winter, Toronto restaurants all take part in a Winterlicious/Summerlicious festival, where many of our city’s high-end restaurants have prix fixe menus. This is a great promotional opportunity for them to bring in new customers and for many people to sample delicious food that they normally wouldn’t be able to afford on a regular basis.
A great idea overall, but some pretentious restaurants would rather rip off customers then impress them. This really pisses me off, because I really want to sample the very best that your restaurant can offer, and I don’t want to be treated like some lesser customer who doesn’t know any better. I know my food, and if I’ve spent $70 + on a prix fixe menu on a meal that I can cook better myself and am left starving, than that’s a problem.
This summer, I tried North 44, and I was really looking forward to it. Unfortunately they fell into the “rip off” category. I had a similar experience and their sister restaurant – Bymark. Tiny, unimpressive portions. But this time, the actual quality of the food was terrible. Below is the complaint letter I sent to them, I just want them to know, that I know they’re being pretentious pricks.
Dear North 44,
I dined at your restaurant last week for Summerlicious – and have been looking forward to trying your restaurant for awhile now. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed with my experience. Summer/Winterlicious is a prime promotional opportunity for a restaurant, where they should provide their best service possible to draw new customers. After my experience at North 44, I would not be tempted to return.
I ordered the “day boat scallops with crisp wild boar bacon, creamed leeks and chili oil”. I received 3 small scallops – that tasted more frozen than fresh – in a watery sauce with a miniscule piece of overcooked bacon on top of one scallop.
For my main, I ordered the “tandoori spiced salmon with potato – pea ragout and okra”. My salmon was burned black on one half, so that I could barely taste the tandoori flavour and was topped with three pieces of shriveled okra. The sparce potatoes and peas were floating around in a glue-like gravy, hardly a ragout.
My “banana strudel with peanut butter ice cream” dessert was good, though the strudel was a bit soggy.
The bread basket however, was delicious.
Unfortunately a good bread basket was not going to save my meal, which was hardly worth the prix fixe price, much less paying full price for such a mess.
There are two kinds of restaurants during the ‘licious festival: those that embrace this as an opportunity to attract new customers, and those that feel they can rip off people who wouldn’t normally dine at their establishment with lesser quality food. It is a shame that North 44 did not take full advantage of this opportunity to win new customers over, for based on my Summerlicious experience, I would not recommend North 44 to anyone.
P.S. As a side note, I was also surprised at the condition of the lavatory facilities – one toilet was out of service, the counter was dirty, the waste basket overflowing and there was a giant crack in the floor.