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Del Merei Grille, Del Ray - Closed

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and if you bother to read my post, you will see we arrived at 4:50 and opened the door only to realize that they didn't open until 5:00

I read your post very carefully, and you didn't mention 4:50, 5:00, or anything at all to do with the fact that you arrived before the restaurant opened.

And if you had asked you would have learned that more then 50% of what we ordered was still on the serving plates.

And yet you said, "We ate the appetizers because they happened to be at a roughly correct temperature to be eaten," and also that you "managed to fill a bread plate with bones and fat from the shank." So you finished the appetizers, filled a bread plate with bones and fat from the shank, but "left 50%" of what was ordered on the serving plates.

I don't doubt that you didn't enjoy your meal, Escoffier, but your anonymous Christmas-Eve trashing is well-worth taking to a deeper level of scrutiny.

I'll step back from this now, and let the restaurant respond as they see fit.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I read your post very carefully, and you didn't mention 4:50, 5:00, or anything at all to do with the fact that you arrived before the restaurant opened.

Perhaps you'd like to borrow my glasses. I said, and I quote: "We arrived (early, about 10 minutes early) to an empty restaurant".. Now, I'm no restaurateur, but perhaps if you don't open until 5:00 pm, you wouldn't open the doors at 4:50 pm and not expect people to come through them (as another couple did 5 minutes after we entered)

And yet you said, "We ate the appetizers because they happened to be at a roughly correct temperature to be eaten," and also that you "managed to fill a bread plate with bones and fat from the shank." So you finished the appetizers, filled a bread plate with bones and fat from the shank, but "left 50%" of what was ordered on the serving plates.

Exactly. about 50% of what was left after extracting the fat and bone from the shank and then eating about 5 bites. That's not so really hard to understand now, isn't it?

I don't doubt that you didn't enjoy your meal, Escoffier, but your anonymous Christmas-Eve trashing is well-worth taking to a deeper level of scrutiny.

I'm not sure what it is you're talking about here, Don. Again, let me quote what I wrote which you seem to have overlooked as well: "Now for the lamb shank, it was a bit fatter then the lamb shanks I have eaten at other places but it was tasty". I hardly think this was anonymous as you seem to somehow infer considering I stated the time we arrived, what we ordered and the restaurant was able to furnish you with the times that we started to eat and the time we paid our bill. Perhaps next time I get service such as this, I'll leave a business card rather than a credit card imprint to save the restaurant from having to contact you.

I'll step back from this now, and let the restaurant respond as they see fit.

Perhaps if they had simply said, Sorry, we were overbooked, didn't have enough staff on hand, didn't expect quite this rush and somehow didn't get your food out after it sat overly long, I would have never written anything. As it is, rather than reading what was written and simply apologizing for a case of bad service, they have managed to create a maelstrom. Again, we started going to Del Merei the week it opened. It's been one of the restaurants we go to when we want comfort food. This is one time when they fell down and I'm sorry to see it and hoped that perhaps they might see the problem and alleviate it. I wasn't expecting (and wouldn't take) anything comped, I just wanted a simple "sorry about the cold food". Now, that's not so hard, is it?

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So, to help the rest of us onlookers understand you: are you simply still seething with anger about the meal, or just frustrated by your lack of communication skills?

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Escoffier,

I am sorry you had a bad experience. Especially on a day like Christmas Eve. I have been to Del Merei couple times and always had good time and food without recognition.

You say you have been visiting this restaurant since the first week it opened and until few days ago all your visits were good. I, of course, don`t know how many times you have dined there but if this is more than 3 times, IMO, this makes you a loyal person which also means that you really like this establishment and this maybe more a friendship considering you interact with the waitstaff.

Now, what I don`t understand is, since you are a loyal to this restaurant, why come here and write a trashy review? Is this how you treat your other friends that you like and loyal to ? Why don`t you talk to a manager, NICELY, explaining your experience. Maybe you should have pointed out the problems that you did not like. I am sure they would have done something different to please you.

On the other hand, I really don`t buy this ``if they were honest and told us the truth, we would understand, a simple apology goes a long way`` bullshit. A lot of people do not give a shit whatever the reason is. They do not care if this is Christmas eve or Christmas day. And those people are the ones most likely to write a stupid review online here, yelp, or complain to a food critic.

and I bet $500 you won`t be able to memorize the menu in 15 minutes

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Now, what I don`t understand is, since you are a loyal to this restaurant, why come here and write a trashy review?

A negative review is not exactly a trashy review. A negative review just means the customer didn't enjoy the service or the food. A negative review can still be honest and to the point. Was DMG an overrated establishment or just had a holiday glitch? Others are free to extract whatever information they want from this review along with numerous other positive or negative reviews.

It seems to me that whenever someone post a negative review, it always come under heavy scrutiny by others on the board. It shouldn't matter anymore than the positive reviews, afterall, it was all a matter of personal opinion. For example, I used to think Canton Cafe had decent food, but the last time I went, the food was disgusting (chunks of fat in shrimp wonton, soggy vegetable, skimpy seafood). Is it not within my right to give them a negative review and start going to other Chinese places for my Cantonese fix? Maybe it was a glitch on their part, but I don't really feel like experience that a second time when there are so many other choices and new places to try. A trashy review on the other hand has a degree of malice, while not providing any details as to why the customers were dissatisfied.

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A negative review is not exactly a trashy review. A negative review just means the customer didn't enjoy the service or the food. A negative review can still be honest and to the point. Was DMG an overrated establishment or just had a holiday glitch? Others are free to extract whatever information they want from this review along with numerous other positive or negative reviews.

It seems to me that whenever someone post a negative review, it always come under heavy scrutiny by others on the board.....

My problem is that he chose to write it on Christmas Eve. Why give a bad review during the one time of the year we are supposed to be charitable, especially to a place you know well?

And yes, he is getting slammed for writing a bad review, but anyone who has been a member of the board for as long and as active as Escoffier should know the first place to raise a complaint is with the manager, not out in public, again especially on Christmas Eve.

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It seems to me that whenever someone post a negative review, it always come under heavy scrutiny by others on the board.

As it should. Think of it as a system of checks and balances. A negative post is useful when factual, but pointless and potentially harmful when the writer is merely venting. Most of the pilings-on that happen here are reactions to inflammatory posts. I don't know what Escoffier intended with his post, but the peevish tone overpowers the facts. It ought to be scrutinized. Not trashed, but scrutinized, for the sake of anyone who might make a decision based on the information provided. Diners and restaurant owners alike deserve no less.

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As it should. Think of it as a system of checks and balances. A negative post is useful when factual, but pointless and potentially harmful when the writer is merely venting. Most of the pilings-on that happen here are reactions to inflammatory posts. I don't know what Escoffier intended with his post, but the peevish tone overpowers the facts. It ought to be scrutinized. Not trashed, but scrutinized, for the sake of anyone who might make a decision based on the information provided. Diners and restaurant owners alike deserve no less.

Are you saying that his recount wasn't factual? It seems pretty detailed and logical to me. Now, I can understand some might complain about the timing of the review and many problems would not have existed in the first place if it wasn't for the fact that it was during the biggest holiday of the year. Online reviews are inaccurate if you only look at a small numbers of them, but in general, fairly informative if you look at a huge sample when the whining cancels out exaggerated positives. This is why I personally don't take negative reviews more serious than positive reviews, since the reviews as a whole are just reflection of restaurant's inconsistency and differences in personal taste.

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Christmas Eve is one of those occasions--like Mother's Day and Valentine's Day--when my expectations for dining out are greatly reduced. It is just not a night conducive to a great dining experience, and I prefer not to dine out that night when I have the choice. (When we visit my in-laws at Christmas, however, we usually eat out on Christmas Eve, and I do not enjoy it.) Some places may outperform my lowered expectations, but I find it hard to have high expectations.

I wouldn't judge any restaurant by its performance on a day/night like this, though I'd be impressed if they turned in a stellar performance. Accordingly, I don't give much weight to an account like this for a Christmas Eve meal. It's fine to express dissatisfaction if service was slow and food was cold, but it doesn't likely represent the quality of the place generally, so I'm not sure what benefit this account yields for anyone.

The advice consistently from everyone in the business and in the food writing world is to make complaints known at the time. Apparently there was a miscommunication about how cold the food was (or in registering dissatisfaction with it). And that leads back to initial fact that it was Christmas Eve.

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My problem is that he chose to write it on Christmas Eve. Why give a bad review during the one time of the year we are supposed to be charitable, especially to a place you know well?

And yes, he is getting slammed for writing a bad review, but anyone who has been a member of the board for as long and as active as Escoffier should know the first place to raise a complaint is with the manager, not out in public, again especially on Christmas Eve.

So Christmas Eve means you should endure less than stellar service and be charitable. How about July 4th?, Sukkot? Hanukkah? St. Valentine's Day? There was one complaint with two interconnected problems and they were, in order...1. a lack of service which was apparent by food sitting way too long before being served, to the point where it was cold, and 2:, not a single apology or "sorry" or "gee, we're really busy". Any of those phrases would have prevented my writing anything about this. I hardly think it was a bad review when I stated quite implicitly that the entree I ordered was quite tasty. It wasn't the food, (and let me state this once more emphatically), it was the lack of service. NOTHING else...A LACK OF SERVICE to the point where the food we were served was COLD....COLD...COLD...now, perhaps you might understand what precipitated this.

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Apparently there was a miscommunication about how cold the food was (or in registering dissatisfaction with it). And that leads back to initial fact that it was Christmas Eve.

When you tell a runner and a server that the food you have just been served is cold and they return it to the kitchen to be rewarmed, that's a miscommunicaton? Perhaps I should have stood on the table and announced that the food was cold? The day of the week, month or calendar year is specious. We should give every restaurant in the world a pass because they happen to be open on a holiday for some people and they happen to fall down on service? Is that what you're saying? I'm sorry, but the day has absolutely nothing to do with the problem (which was reported to our server and a second server and the person who returned our cold food to the kitchen to be warmed. I somehow overlooked reporting it to the AAA and perhaps the FBI but I'll be certain to include them the next time something like this happens).

Just for the record there was an apology for the cold food which was accepted...and to quote someone...."life goes on"....

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Can we move on?

I have responded to Escoffier.

What's been said has been said, what's been done has been done. Ready to move along.

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Are you saying that his recount wasn't factual?

No: "the peevish tone overpowers the facts". But like others said, move on... mmm, now I'm craving frickles.

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All this talk about frickles forced me to forage.

To Del Merei I trekked, and was rewarded with much frickletude. "The Plate" appetizer ($14) arrived laden with coveted cukes, TOUS (taquitos of unusual succulence), and bacon-ganished deviled eggs. Too hearty of a starter, alas, as I had little room left when the entrees arrived.

One of the delightful benefits of hearty winter fare is that leftovers keep beautifully. So, tomorrow's lunch is already planned, salmon with lemon caper butter sauce, goat cheese mashed potatoes, and brussels sprouts. I had not dined in Del Merei's dining room before tonight, only in the bar, and mainly from the Del-icious menu. I was pleased to observe the sauces from the grill section of the menu (steaks, salmon, chicken, portabella) arrive on the side, not directly on top of the entree as I had anticipated. A judicious and tailorable approach, and one I appreciated.

Dining companion devoured a black-and-blue filet mignon with blue cheese sauce, perfectly temperatured and deftly seasoned. Collards and blue cheese smashed potatoes rounded out his satisfying plate.

A shared dessert of chocolate pudding provided dutched cocoa familiarity and smooth texture.

If you plan to visit during the next two days or so, wear layers. The building's heating unit apparently went on strike this morning, and negotiations are at a standstill. The hostess, waiter, and food runners all apologized for the chill. But with hearty fare like this, heat is overrated anyway.

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Last Saturday I headed to the Del Merei Grille for dinner. When I arrived around 9:20pm the dining room was closed. The bartender reported the kitchen had closed early, so food wasn’t an option in the bar area. Needless to say I left disappointed.

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awww snap, I clicked on this thread thinking it was about the feature in Washingtonian

Are you moving to Monroe's as well? I liked the food at Del Merei and would like to think it's still available in the area.

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Wapo chat:

Q.Is it true?

I recently heard a rumor that Del Merei Grille in Del Ray is closing late September. Is this true? I recently discovered this restaurant thanks to your review. The food was amazing, and it quickly turned into one of our local favorites. Would be sad to see it go.

– August 30, 2010 9:20 AM Permalink

A.Tom Sietsema writes:

Alas, the rumor is true. My colleague (and online producer) Justin Rude confirmed the news yesterday.

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Sadly, it looks like Del Merei Grille, Bombay Curry Company, Pizzaiolo Cafe, (and yes, even Pho King) will be forced to close or relocate soon ... click.

$20 Tuesday at Del Merei Grille? :(

Sounds good

Hi folks - please save the date and circle Wednesday, September 15 as busy!! Things are finally falling into place. Will create a separate topic with details to follow.

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Said farewell to Del Merei last night, and am glad to say that it’s going out on a high note. The cast-iron ribeye with jalapeno haricots verts and onion tangles was the best steak I’ve ever had there. Kicked things off with my last plate of frickles, and wrapped things up by splitting the grilled glazed doughnut.

Eric and Mary should be commended for the restaurant they created. For years, Del Merei Grille has been the answer to a myriad of questions such as -- Where to take the visiting parents? Celebrate a birthday? Dine with the picky eater? Go for a date night? You could casually pop into the bar for a hot dog and tater tots, or dress up and enjoy a steak or seafood in the dining room. It was the ideal neighborhood restaurant.

I’d imagine the greatest benefit and highest compliment for a restaurant is generating good word of mouth. We first heard about Del Merei from an insistent friend, and after trying it, turned on several other friends to it. Part of Del Merei’s charm was that hundreds of people felt like they ‘discovered’ it.

So thank you, Eric and Mary, for the work and dedication that you and your team put into this place over the past five years. It was noticed and appreciated. And if you’re so inclined, please find another location in your neighborhood. We’re all eager to come back.

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JimCo, amen. I am glad to hear that you were able to say good bye to Del Merei, Mary, Eric, and their loyal staff. My wife and I live in Del Ray and have been eating here once a week since I learned from Don’s post about their closing.

Tonight, my wife and I will get to say good-by with a reservation on the later side and a plan to stay until they kick us out…we’ll definitely be paying for it tomorrow. Will be interesting to see what is left both food and beverage wise to send off this jewel of a restaurant.

Over the years, it was so much more than just a neighborhood jewel. It was often our choice when we had guests staying with us, friends wanting to see Del Ray, friends thinking of moving to Del Ray, and often a nice place for date night where we have never had a bad meal and the greeting and service was that of old friends.

Looking forward to saying thanks to Mary, Eric, and the staff in person tonight and here’s hoping they soon find another place to bring back the food and memories.

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After reading JimCo's posting, it got me wanting more than one more meal at Del Merei. So, I ate lunch there this afternoon before they closed for dinner prep and service.

I started off with a pint of Laguintas Little 'Sumpin on tap. It is supposedly their "summer ale"...right. Lots of hop and would guess a wee bit stronger than a normal American draft. For the meal, I started with the 7-leaf (since it is my favorite over the years) and had the veggie delite sandwich with tater tots. And I finished up with Green Wave IPA in a bottle. I have always enjoyed their beer selection and it appears it will be a great way to go out this evening/tomorrow morning.

The portabellas were perfectly cooked and the sandwich was great even without the focaccia bread they had just run out of...had it with rye instead. I have always thought that one is either a tater tot person or not....I definitely am.

It was the first time I have eaten a meal at Del Merei other than dinner. My loss. Looking forward to dinner and whatever Eric has left to make into a meal. See you all in a few hours...

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