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Tom Sietsema washingtonpost.com Wednesdays 11-12 AM

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#101 DCMark

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 10:37 AM

Today is shaping up to be a doozy!

"You b**ch, bring me a cheese plate"

Good to see that comments are going 100% (so far) for the restaurant.

Edited by DCMark, 22 June 2005 - 10:37 AM.

"This donut has purple in the middle, purple is a fruit."

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#102 Banco

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 10:46 AM

Today is shaping up to be a doozy!

"You b**ch, bring me a cheese plate"

Good to see that comments are going 100% (so far) for the restaurant.

Indeed. Not knowing what medium-rare is, not leaving a tip, and then rattling the chain of command--clueless and classless. Though I think the restaurant is not entirely without fault either. As one poster said, eye rolling and challenging the tip amount, no matter how "justified" in this case, can never reflect well on a restaurant.

#103 alan7147

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 10:48 AM

I like the Charlie Palmer's issue. The woman complained that her steak was too red on the inside and that medium rare(her requested level of doneness) should be pink. Am I crazy or is medium rare supposed to be a warm red center. Pink is more towards the medium/medium well end of the spectrum.

Edited by alan7147, 22 June 2005 - 11:16 AM.

If your enemy is superior, evade him. If angry, irritate him. If equally matched, fight, and if not split and reevaluate." - Sun Tzu


#104 hillvalley

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 10:54 AM

Don't forget to spend the weekend working on those snarky questions for Tom's chat with us next Monday.
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#105 bookluvingbabe

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 10:54 AM

I like the Charlie Palmer's issue.  The woman complained that her steak was to red on the inside and that medium rare(her requested level of doneness) should be pink.  Am I crazy or is medium rare supposed to be a warm red center.  Pink is more towards the medium/medium well end of the spectrum.

I always thought it should be closer to pink than warm red center but I've just taken to ordering my steaks medium.

#106 dcpolicywonk

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 10:55 AM

Charlie Palmer Steak: Tom,

I had a very similar experience with a female manager at CPS. My steak was overcooked and I sent it back. She told me it was cooked properly but got me a new steak anyway. At the end of the meal, she tried to make it up by bringing over 2 desserts, neither of which we wanted to eat. She asked what she could do as a gesture and I suggested that she ASK if we wanted dessert before showing up with it and allow us to choose. Clearly she didn't get the point.

Also, when I was looking at the wine list, I chose 3 wines that were out of stock. She told me she couldn't help me because "I don't drink American wines. I'm into Rhones."

Excuse me, but if the restaurant serves American wines, perhaps you should be INTO them!

I have also been to several CP restaurants and CPS is by far the worst.

Tom Sietsema: Hmmmmm. That wine comment cracks me up.


Rocks? Was that you? :lol:
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#107 DonRocks

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 11:09 AM

Rocks?  Was that you? :lol:

No way

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#108 JPW

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 11:34 AM

No way

Rocks ordering American wine?
:lol:

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#109 Heather

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 11:35 AM

Rocks ordering American wine?
:lol:

My thoughts exactly. ;)

#110 tenunda

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 11:52 AM

Did this woman assume the manager was clairvoyant? How else would she have known that she wanted some to go with her wine? High maintenance w(h)iner...
I need some fine wine and you, you need to be nicer.

#111 Al Dente

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 12:17 PM

Did this woman assume the manager was clairvoyant?  How else would she have known that she wanted some to go with her wine? High maintenance w(h)iner...

The bitcher also said that they both had 1/4 of a glass of wine remaining-- as though that's a considerable amount and might require so much time to consume that their free sorbets would melt.

I sometimes toy with the idea of opening a restaurant. When I read this kind of stuff though, I'd be rolling my eyes (and probably much worse) at bozos all the time.

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#112 alan7147

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 12:34 PM

I always thought it should be closer to pink than warm red center but I've just taken to ordering my steaks medium.

After a quick google, here is what I found:

rare: 140°F (60°C), center of the steak is very red and cool

medium rare: 150°F (65°C), center of the steak is red and warm
medium: 160°F (71°C), center of the steak is pink and hot
medium well: 165°F (74°C), center of the steak is pinkish and hot
well done: 170+°F (77+°C), steak is thoroughly cooked


If your enemy is superior, evade him. If angry, irritate him. If equally matched, fight, and if not split and reevaluate." - Sun Tzu


#113 Banco

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 12:38 PM

After a quick google, here is what I found:

rare: 140°F (60°C), center of the steak is very red and cool
medium rare: 150°F (65°C), center of the steak is red and warm
medium: 160°F (71°C), center of the steak is pink and hot
medium well: 165°F (74°C), center of the steak is pinkish and hot
well done: 170+°F (77+°C), steak is thoroughly cooked

For future reference, little Miss Muffet should stick that in her tuffet.

#114 DonRocks

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 12:41 PM

For future reference, little Miss Muffet should stick that in her tuffet.

What about Little Miss Muchas?

(Maybe Landrum can chime in about doneness?)

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#115 shogun

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 12:44 PM

Your dog wants his Black and Blue.
Matt Robinson

I'll have the beef car-patchio to start, and the braised lamb shank...........and a Yorkie. Buttered.

#116 Banco

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 12:49 PM

What about Little Miss Muchas?

...her tuchas?

Edited by Banco, 22 June 2005 - 12:53 PM.


#117 Jacques Gastreaux

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 01:21 PM

It was Charlie Palmer Steak's turn in the barrel today. Man, one of the worst beatings yet.
Please unload all firearms and remove ski masks before entering establishment.

#118 Stretch

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 01:21 PM

well done: 170+°F (77+°C), steak is thoroughly fucked

Andrew Clark.

"A thick layer of beef fat and cabernet obscures my memories of the evening. It's possible I was raped by a bull."

#119 brr

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 01:30 PM

yes, but the overall tone of subsequent posters was fairly pro-Palmer and writing off the complainer as a harpy....so I doubt (hope) that lasting damage was not done

unlike last week when the Blacksalt comments were all in the "yeah, I was treated like dirt by their front of house people as well" vein

It was Charlie Palmer Steak's turn in the barrel today.  Man, one of the worst beatings yet.



#120 FunnyJohn

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 02:58 PM

Re CPS bitch-out:
What we had here, people, was a failure to communicate.
First, customers can't communicate how they actually would like their beef prepared.
Then, they can't communicate that they would prefer not to have dessert.
Then they can't communicate why they would like to just f@#$ing finish their wine, and that the hostess' well-intentioned effort to molify them was only making them more ticked-off.
Finally hostess really did communicate -- albeit unprofessionally, but nevertheless understandably -- by irritably rolling her eyes.
This is the stuff of true comedy if not for the potential damage to the establishment's reputation.

John Herzberg
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#121 Monica Bhide

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 03:08 PM

Which review was the "titanic" -- I cant find the link in the online chat...

#122 FunnyJohn

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 03:10 PM

Which review was the "titanic" -- I cant find the link in the online chat...

I think he was referring to his review in last week's Post Magazine on kAFFE Leopold.

John Herzberg
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"I would like to take you seriously, but to do so would affront your intelligence."
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#123 johnb

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 04:05 PM

Re CPS bitch-out:

This is the stuff of true comedy if not for the potential damage to the establishment's reputation.


Never fear. In this as in so many other matters, there really is no such thing as bad publicity.


:lol:

#124 DaveBVI

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 05:16 PM

Anatomy of a complaint and resolution at CPS:

Look for the facts, correct the (real or perceived) error, learn from it and move on.

1) The food was not checked upon when received. If the steak was too red (after carving, this a little more dicey), but the obvious answer would be to try to, ummm, cook it more???

2) Service-CPS uses a confusing system of back waiter/front waiter/ food runner/busser. It hard to register a complaint when your only option is to flag someone down. The times i was there as a 'normal customer' and not part of a tasting or a know group, i saw the front waiter exactly twice; to take the order, then to deliver the bill. no one checked on our food. oops. While the diner in question had poor service, at least some tip should have been left. HOWEVER, if someone dosen't leave a tip, the establishment/server are NEVER/EVER EVER!!! allowed to make that comment to a guest. Take your lumps and move on.

3) free dessert-when sending to a regular customer on a regular visit, guessing is ok, but to resolve a complaint, never assume!!! leave the choice to the guest, gathering info on their mood while finding out how what/how they expect the situation to be resolved (dessert, comped drink/another drink, etc.). Usually left to a (competent) manager. Having been in that situation before, sometimes the situation cannot be resolved. My head waiter and I were on the receiving end of such a situation twice in the last year. If they are that mad, back off and cut your losses. Smothering someone will only make them madder.

4) Communicate with superior about a toxic situation, so they will not be caught off guard when asked to come to the front desk/ door for a complaint or get one on the phone/via e-mail the next day.

5) Never make a situation worse. This was basically an undercooked steak with unattentive service and a green manager. A poor expierence to be sure, but worth 10 paragraphs or so on a weekly chat? People ask what managers do, they hire staff, train staff, oversee things, but they are not supposed to make a small problem a big complaint.

6) If it was the same manager who made the "I like rhone wines" comment, well, it is an AMERICAN steak house, which features AMERICAN wine, and goes so far as to not charge corkage for AMERICAN wines. C'mon, know your product people.

Was the guest picky, yes, but for a $60 or $70 prime rib for 2, well, they should be. Did they clearly order the wrong temperature, yes, they did. Are you as a manager allowed to embarass them, NO. Say you are sorry about the CONFUSION, how pink/red would you like it, at CPS, this is our med rare. No time to cook a brand new rib, (40 min) well, how about something else, I just happen to have a menu in my hands, and yes, this steak might cook more quickly if you no longer want the rib/ don't want it cooked more. Don't want anything, ok, let me at least buy your glass of wine.

The guest was clearly, well, a picec of work, but he/she did have valid complaints. And if they are upset enough to post it on TS's weekly rant/rave, then they are clealy educated enough to at least tip 5% or 10%. The waiter will no doubt get the point that they were angry. The manager, however, fumbled the snap.

And, for the record, I like the crunchy parts of a prime rib, or the end cut, the rib is so fatty (in a good way) you get lost of flavor there, even better if there was a rub. Maybe with a Rhone...... :lol:

David Batista
Manager (sometimes target)
Corduroy

Edited by DaveBVI, 22 June 2005 - 05:26 PM.

dave batista
manager and aspiring wine guru
market street grill, hotel whitcomb
people's republic of san francisco

#125 Banco

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 07:20 AM

Thanks, Mr. Batista, for a great summary of everything that seemed to have gone wrong in the CP debacle. I bet managers could use your analysis as a basic text in training classes for their staff.

#126 CrescentFresh

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 09:35 AM

Charlie Palmer will be speaking at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall at 3PM today. That's if anyone wanted to ask him what medium rare is, ask for a cheese plate or see if he likes Rhone wine, too.
"Give me a Sandwich and a Douchebag and there's nothing I cannot do." -- Lord Salisbury

#127 Michael Landrum

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 10:04 AM

What about Little Miss Muchas?

(Maybe Landrum can chime in about doneness?)


From the Ray's Manifesto--our guide de-emphasizes color since that is highly subjective (everyone's idea of "pink" is different), stresses firmness since that is a very key determinant in guests' perception of doneness even though never consciously so; our stated temperatures are lower to reflect the actual temperature of the center when pulled from the grill, but carry-over cooking is meant to raise internal temperatures by 5 degrees:

"About Our Temperatures:
Our Steaks are grilled to order over a high-temperature open flame and served immediately; they are never "rested and re-fired" or finished in the oven. We cook our steaks according to internal temperature, not according to color and allow for "carry-over" cooking. Our beef is a natural product and varies in color due to age, climate, feed and time of year - from a veal-like pink to a deep crimson. Here then is as accurate a guide as possible to our temperatures:

Rare: Cool, soft red center; moderate char.
Medium Rare: Warm, semi-soft red center; full char.
Medium: 135 Degree, semi-firm "red-to-pink center"; heavy char.
Medium-Well: 145 Degree, firm center; extra-heavy char, allow 30-35 mins.
Well Done: 155 Degree, solid center; excessive char, allow 35-40 mins.

We strive for the greatest precision and care possible. If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with your meal, please let us know as soon as possible so that we may make it right. However, we do not recommend or guarantee temperatures above medium or "in-between temperatures."

The most difficult aspect of timing and temperature, and the most common source of re-cooks besides contradictory notions of "pink", is the concept of carry-over cooking. Extra-thick steakhouse cuts cooked at 800-1500 degrees continue to cook 3 minutes for rare, 5 minutes for mid-rare, 10 minutes for medium and more for higher temps. At Ray's we include carry-over cooking in our cook times, but split the middle for mediums and above--meaning that we allow for more of the cooking to continue on the plates for mediums than for medium rares. Therefore, if you order medium or above, you should start eating at the smallest part of the steak and move towards the center, and not cut into the center immediately to judge doneness.

Regardless of what temperature you order, if at your first bite the steak appears over-done, you should then cut into the middle to ascertain doneness before assuming that the steak is over-done.

One final note, I do notice a very strong regional basis for disagreement regarding doneness, with people from Texas/the Midwest having a much higher idea of what medium is and what "pink" is.

#128 Heather

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 03:34 PM

Charlie Palmer will be speaking at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall at 3PM today.  That's if anyone wanted to ask him what medium rare is, ask for a cheese plate or see if he likes Rhone wine, too.

I met him today before the demo. I refrained from mentioning the spanking his place got on Tom's chat. :lol:

#129 DonRocks

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 10:06 AM

The June 29th chat.

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#130 Kanishka

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 11:34 AM

Was it my imagination, or was this weeks chat rather congenial and non-ire filled? Pleasant reading all the same.

#131 Banco

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 11:42 AM

Was it my imagination, or was this weeks chat rather congenial and non-ire filled? Pleasant reading all the same.

Yes, I also detected the distinct lack of a "spanking machine" (not that I'm into that kind of thing).

#132 starfish

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 12:55 PM

the bertucci's line mande me laugh out loud.

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#133 Jacques Gastreaux

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 02:00 PM

I got a lauch out of the "Mecca" line. If the spanking machine was cranking today, it was after Sonoma. Hopefully the child will learn from the negative reinforcement.
Please unload all firearms and remove ski masks before entering establishment.

#134 starfish

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 10:44 AM

40 minutes in, and no spanking so far? has an outbreak of reason suddenly been unleashed?

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#135 bookluvingbabe

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 10:45 AM

40 minutes in, and no spanking so far?  has an outbreak of reason suddenly been unleashed?

All the cranky people went on vacation????

#136 DCMark

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 10:50 AM

Our friend DCFoodie got a spanking?

Why? If you have a problem with any blogger, have the guts to tell them yourself!
"This donut has purple in the middle, purple is a fruit."

Homer J.

#137 monavano

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 10:59 AM

I hope Tom didn't get the hint-hint about DC foodie and post it anyway. It was a direct slam on Jason and undeserved. I enjoy Jason's postings and believe them to be thoughtful, funny and informative.
At least he puts a name and a face to his blogging, unlike the coward who flung an insult at Jason from his cyber perch of anonymity.

#138 DCMark

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 11:06 AM

I hope Tom didn't get the hint-hint about DC foodie and post it anyway. It was a direct slam on Jason and undeserved. I enjoy Jason's postings and believe them to be thoughtful, funny and informative.
At least he puts a name and a face to his blogging, unlike the coward who flung an insult at Jason from his cyber perch of anonymity.


I agree. Yesterday I probably lectured him a bit on some historical aspects of his food, and his response was considerate and professional. The poster on Tom's chat did NOT criticize food bloggers in general but Jason in particular.
"This donut has purple in the middle, purple is a fruit."

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#139 MelGold

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 11:11 AM

Small bit of clarification to the opening bit of news on the chat today:

Evening Star Cafe, Vermilion & Tallula are all beginning a new reservation policy over the next week as we go online with Open Table. Tallula will begin taking online reservations this weekend with the other two restaurants following suit early next week. Some limitations will still apply depending on time and day.

Cheers!
Mel

#140 Kanishka

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 11:23 AM

At least he puts a name and a face to his blogging, unlike the coward who flung an insult at Jason from his cyber perch of anonymity.

So very true. Say what you will about Jason or his site -- he is honest and open and doesn't hide in anonymity. The biggest problem I have with many blogs isn't in the content, but in the hate-filled anonymous commenting.

#141 DCMark

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 11:29 AM

I thought this was funny, about political bloggers (not you Jason):

Blog Comic
"This donut has purple in the middle, purple is a fruit."

Homer J.

#142 CrescentFresh

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 11:39 AM

What's particularly galling and revolting about the dcfoodie slam is that lazy-assed piece of crap who complained on Tom's chat couldn't even bother to click on the blog's "about me" link where it would have explained it all. "Journalistic objectivity" is what he's concerned about? Jeez! Jason comes right out and says "I don't claim to know everything about food."

I think we have a second "anonymous tool" on our hands.

AND FURTHERMORE:

I, too, do not have to try something to know what it tastes like. Put a carrot in front of me and you know what? It tastes like a fucking carrot!

Edited by CrescentFresh, 06 July 2005 - 11:49 AM.

"Give me a Sandwich and a Douchebag and there's nothing I cannot do." -- Lord Salisbury

#143 Jacques Gastreaux

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 11:47 AM

That "Willow" place sounds like something to put on the old radar screen.

RE: Your Fantasy Restaurant Job: Recently defunct Gaffney's in Ballston is in the process of being reincarnated into "Willow"- I work in the building and have spoken a couple times to the two women owners- they've both worked at Galileo, one was at Kinkead's for a long time the other was one of the originators at Firehook Bakery and spent a year in Tuscany. Their intent is to have EXACTLY the sort of place you describe. I can't WAIT for them to open!


Edited by Jacques Gastreaux, 06 July 2005 - 11:48 AM.

Please unload all firearms and remove ski masks before entering establishment.

#144 FunnyJohn

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 12:27 PM

That "Willow" place sounds like something to put on the old radar screen.

Absolutely, but that space has seen so many restaurants come 'n' go that I've lost count. Hopefully, if Willow proves to be the real deal, it will be supported in that neighborhood -- a difficult one to sustain a really good restaurant in. Rio Grande (as an example) I think enjoys the current record.

John Herzberg
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"I would like to take you seriously, but to do so would affront your intelligence."
"You too can have the soothing feeling of nature's own baby-soft wool being pulled over your resting eyes." - Herb Block


#145 JPW

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 12:48 PM

Absolutely, but that space has seen so many restaurants come 'n' go that I've lost count.  Hopefully, if Willow proves to be the real deal, it will be supported in that neighborhood -- a difficult one to sustain a really good restaurant in.  Rio Grande (as an example) I think enjoys the current record.

Are you claiming Rio Grande as a really good restaurant? :P

Joe
skewing old


#146 FunnyJohn

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 12:50 PM

Are you claiming Rio Grande as a really good restaurant?  :P

No -- I knew I wasn't being clear -- lazy writing. What I meant is that Rio Grande seems to be the example of the type of restaurant the neighborhood can/will sustain.

John Herzberg
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#147 hillvalley

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 03:14 PM

I hope Tom didn't get the hint-hint about DC foodie and post it anyway. It was a direct slam on Jason and undeserved. I enjoy Jason's postings and believe them to be thoughtful, funny and informative.
At least he puts a name and a face to his blogging, unlike the coward who flung an insult at Jason from his cyber perch of anonymity.

On behalf of those of us whose job does not allow much surfing during the day let alone time to read Tom's chat, but check in periodically with the board, would someone mind quoting the post from Tom's chat that you discuss (assuming that isn't a copyright violation)? It would make following the conversation so much easier.

We would greatly appreciate it :P
How do you know you're a well-adjusted foodie?-babka
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She never promised that life would be easy, but she did promise that if I hung with her the food would be good. -Joan Bauer


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#148 monavano

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 10:13 PM

Read the 5th chatter comment. It clearly dissed Jason of dcfoodies.com. It was cowardly and not called for to single him out. It was my hope that Tom (assuming that he is aware of Jason's fairly well known locally blog) let this go through not making the connection. Anyway, seems that other dr.com members as well as myself called the chatter out on this one and gave support to Jason.

http://www.washingto...5070101241.html

#149 dcfoodie

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 10:59 PM

Thank you all for your support!

I'm feeling a lot of love right now. I'd just finished reading the chat and after a long hard day at work, I was feeling quite depressed -- but then I came here...and all was better. :P

Not to go into too much backstory, but the person who posted that first comment (basically naming my web site) had actually posted a comment on my site as well about Sonoma. They accused me of not knowing what I was talking about with the usual "I'm a foodie and I used to be a professional chef" routine. I obviously hit a sore spot with this person because I didn't give a glowing review of his new favorite hangout. I deleted a very rude comment that he posted off my site -- I guess he didn't like that.

IMHO, I wrote an extremely fair writeup of that place after a single visit (which I was very open about) and quite honestly, I was probably too nice. The whole bit about "you don't have to try something to know what it tastes like" was in regards to the pizza, which I took one look at and knew I wouldn't like, but if you read my post, I said "I'll reserve my judgment until I actually try it". 2 weeks later I returned and actually tried the pizza and guess what...well, you get the idea. I'll let you try it yourself and make your own judgments.

I think Tom got the hint, and I hope he doesn't have anything against me, because I think he's great.

Anyway, thank you everyone for the support.
Jason Storch
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#150 DonRocks

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 10:39 AM

The July 13th chat.

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