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Brasserie Ruhlmann: Evil Ronnie & I v. Vettel

Brasserie Ruhlmann: Evil Ronnie & I v. Vettel
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  • Brasserie Ruhlmann: Evil Ronnie & I v. Vettel

    Post #1 - December 20th, 2007, 9:58 pm
    Post #1 - December 20th, 2007, 9:58 pm Post #1 - December 20th, 2007, 9:58 pm
    I don't know if I'm laughing or crying. We just returned home from the aforementioned restaurant. After confirming with Ron in the cab that Vettle hadn't reviewed it yet, lo and behold, there it was in today's Trib.
    when we got home. But our experience was not very good....from the beginning. Let me elaborate:
    We had a reservation, walked in and were offered the table opposite the revolving door. I said no. (The place was 3/4 empty) We were then led to a small table next to the 4 guys on an expense account. I wasn't happy, but didn't want to embarrass Ron. The first thing we were offered was "black linen" yes, a woman came around and asked us if we wanted a black linen napkin. We had never heard of this and have eaten at many restaurants all over the world. Now, mind you there was a white linen cloth and napkins on the table and they asked this question. Then we sat and we sat and I was wanting water so badly, so I asked for some. We sat and we sat and I wanted some wine so I asked for a bottle...it was Eyrie Pinot Grigio and it came somewhat warm. He told us he had to go "get it" which is why it took awhile. He poured a thimblefull to each of us and took the bottle away, no ice bucket for us. However, I was desperate for liquid refreshment.

    We ordered to "graze" so we could taste a bunch of different things and the waiter didn't have a clue as to how to serve us. We ordered:

    Duck rillettes-colorless and tasteless and too chilled (too bad they didn't exchange the wine and rillettes)
    Moules Frites-the frites were the best thing all night, the mussels were ok with an undiscernable broth, not bad, nothing special. (Ron only wished he had bread)
    A dozen oysters-6 blue points which were good and 6 kumamoto, briny, tiny and "eh". I will interject here we sat and we sat and we refused to ask for the oysters until they finally came.

    Ah, the bread issue-we were given a piece of bread and then the bread plates were taken away never to be seen again. Ron had to ask for bread.

    I was getting tired of asking for everything including the wine which was on the waiter's station.

    We then were brought little appetizer plates for our main course which was a good veal chop with gaufrette potatoes, which neither of us liked. Ron asked for bernaise sauce when the chop was served and we were on our last bite when he brought the bernaise. We also had an order of creamed spinach which was pretty inedible due to the overdose of nutmeg.

    For dessert we ordered an apple tart which Ron said was very good, pure butter and it was quite tasty. I ordered a chocolate marjolaine which was a wedge of chocolate hazelnut cake with ganache and praline ice cream. It was mediocre at best.

    I might add here the most attentive person in the place was the guy who poured water (too frequently).

    Our bill came to $20l.00 without tip. Suffice it to say we won't be running back. Yes, it's pretty in there but so not worth it. And I have to laugh, when we sat down, the woman seating us said "your server is fantastic"
    (she neglected to tell us his favorite word was "absolutely" whenever asked for anything)

    I'm still laughing at black linen.
    "With enough butter, anything is good."-Julia Child
  • Post #2 - December 20th, 2007, 10:32 pm
    Post #2 - December 20th, 2007, 10:32 pm Post #2 - December 20th, 2007, 10:32 pm
    The Lovely Donna wrote:The first thing we were offered was "black linen" yes, a woman came around and asked us if we wanted a black linen napkin. We had never heard of this and have eaten at many restaurants all over the world. Now, mind you there was a white linen cloth and napkins on the table and they asked this question.


    I've actually seen this at quite a few restaurants (I've seen it at Custom House and Seasons just to name a couple of places in Chicago). The black napkins are offered to those wearing dark pants. The theory is that the white napkins could leave lint that would show. I actually think it's kind of a nice touch.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #3 - December 20th, 2007, 10:46 pm
    Post #3 - December 20th, 2007, 10:46 pm Post #3 - December 20th, 2007, 10:46 pm
    jesteinf wrote:
    The Lovely Donna wrote:The first thing we were offered was "black linen" yes, a woman came around and asked us if we wanted a black linen napkin. We had never heard of this and have eaten at many restaurants all over the world. Now, mind you there was a white linen cloth and napkins on the table and they asked this question.


    I've actually seen this at quite a few restaurants (I've seen it at Custom House and Seasons just to name a couple of places in Chicago). The black napkins are offered to those wearing dark pants. The theory is that the white napkins could leave lint that would show. I actually think it's kind of a nice touch.

    Is it also offered as a bib? :lol:

    That's too bad about the meal being a disappointment. Have you been to Old Town Brasserie? If so, how did the experience compare?

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #4 - December 20th, 2007, 10:52 pm
    Post #4 - December 20th, 2007, 10:52 pm Post #4 - December 20th, 2007, 10:52 pm
    jesteinf wrote:
    The Lovely Donna wrote:The first thing we were offered was "black linen" yes, a woman came around and asked us if we wanted a black linen napkin. We had never heard of this and have eaten at many restaurants all over the world. Now, mind you there was a white linen cloth and napkins on the table and they asked this question.


    I've actually seen this at quite a few restaurants (I've seen it at Custom House and Seasons just to name a couple of places in Chicago). The black napkins are offered to those wearing dark pants. The theory is that the white napkins could leave lint that would show. I actually think it's kind of a nice touch.


    I was offered a dark napkin at Avenues. I appreciated the gesture, but as I was wearing an equally black and white print dress I was kind of at a loss and stayed with white since it was already there.
  • Post #5 - December 20th, 2007, 10:53 pm
    Post #5 - December 20th, 2007, 10:53 pm Post #5 - December 20th, 2007, 10:53 pm
    jesteinf wrote: The black napkins are offered to those wearing dark pants. The theory is that the white napkins could leave lint that would show. I actually think it's kind of a nice touch.


    Yes. We got the black napkin treatment at Avenues recently. Same reason. One time at a local eatery Mrs. WAK used a white napkin on balck velvet pants and walked away looking like a pile of lint had fallen in her lap, so now I understand.

    But the rest of the review is not out of line with some other mixed reviews I have heard. BTW, I had a much better experience at Old Town Brasserie recently. Outstanding food, although our server was more qualified to be washing dishes than taking our order. I imagine he's in another role by now.
  • Post #6 - December 20th, 2007, 11:11 pm
    Post #6 - December 20th, 2007, 11:11 pm Post #6 - December 20th, 2007, 11:11 pm
    Maybe I'm just insensitive to this detail, but... what the hell are the napkins made of that any of it is being left on my pants at the end of the evening?
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
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  • Post #7 - December 20th, 2007, 11:21 pm
    Post #7 - December 20th, 2007, 11:21 pm Post #7 - December 20th, 2007, 11:21 pm
    Mike G wrote:Maybe I'm just insensitive to this detail, but... what the hell are the napkins made of that any of it is being left on my pants at the end of the evening?


    I think its more what the clothes are made of - Ms WAK says that synthetic fabrics that stretch are the culprit.
    Last edited by wak on December 21st, 2007, 7:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #8 - December 20th, 2007, 11:45 pm
    Post #8 - December 20th, 2007, 11:45 pm Post #8 - December 20th, 2007, 11:45 pm
    We had gone to BR about two weeks ago on a Friday as well. Party of five had reservation from Open Table at 930PM. The place was busy, but not crazy I guess the dinner crowd was starting to thin out at that time. We were told of a 10 mintue wait and it ended up being about 25 mintues, no big deal as we had couple of drinks at the bar.

    Contrary to the OP, our service that night was actually pretty much on the dot. She (forgot her name) came by frequently enough to get each round of orders in on time and came back enough time to make sure all is well throughout the evening. Bread-boy came by two to three times (we were given one large piece of bread each round he came by) pre-appetizer, which were just about the right amount of bread before appetizers were served, as opposed to having a bread backet dropped on the table. We did not order wine by bottle as some of us had glasses of wine while others had cocktails, so did not experience OP's misfortune. We were not offered the black napkin service as (presumably) none of us had black dress/pants on.

    Now onto the food. Overall, I gave it an "eh" 2.5/5 overall. Nothing jumped out at us, and the good were offset by the bad pretty evenly. For appetizers, I really enjoyed our butter/garlicy escargot, flavorful, warm, and of course buttery, while the Tuna Tartar was simply boring and uninsipiring. Pomme Frits was good, but I just had some truffle dip fry at MK the week before, this was not the same. For entrees, we had the veal chop, pork chop, steak au poivre and the best entree of the night-Organic Chicken. steak au poivre was a little too peppery which is not a big problem for me (it was for my wife), but was definitely not on the medium side (which was requested, but was cooked more towards med-well). Pork Chop was ordered per some recommendation I had read on LTH, which turned out to be just OK, I just wasn't too into the mustard sauce, but the meat itself was cooked perfectly juicy. I didn't try the veal chop so can't comment there, but was told it was "good". The best entree for me was the organic chicken. Not that the "organic" part got me (I think it's way too over used these days), but cooked evenly, seasoned well w/o overpowering and it was supported perfectly w/ the parmesan cheese based sauce. For desert I think we alos had the apple tart which was a very good, but I'm not big on desert, so can't really say it's the "best" out there.

    Some images from the night,
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/83069851@N ... 452357513/

    Image
  • Post #9 - December 21st, 2007, 9:02 am
    Post #9 - December 21st, 2007, 9:02 am Post #9 - December 21st, 2007, 9:02 am
    Just for the record folks, neither of us was wearing black pants. I understand why it was offered, just felt it was a bit pretentious.
    "With enough butter, anything is good."-Julia Child
  • Post #10 - December 21st, 2007, 9:28 am
    Post #10 - December 21st, 2007, 9:28 am Post #10 - December 21st, 2007, 9:28 am
    The Lovely Donna wrote:Just for the record folks, neither of us was wearing black pants. I understand why it was offered, just felt it was a bit pretentious.

    A tiny point, but now I'm confused: If you weren't wearing black pants, how can you understand why black napkins were offered, since the only rationale for black napkins I'm seeing in the other posts is that they avoid a problem for people wearing black pants? It would seem there was no sensible reason for black napkins to be offered to you.

    I haven't encountered black napkins myself, yet, but this sounds like one of those trends that's going to start spreading like wildfire, so I bet I will.
  • Post #11 - December 21st, 2007, 9:52 am
    Post #11 - December 21st, 2007, 9:52 am Post #11 - December 21st, 2007, 9:52 am
    Yes. I love black napkins. I hope the trend does catch on. Someone who doesnt wear black alot would think it's pretentious. I wear black most of the time and my response is Thank You!!!
  • Post #12 - December 21st, 2007, 10:16 am
    Post #12 - December 21st, 2007, 10:16 am Post #12 - December 21st, 2007, 10:16 am
    The linnen thing is becoming more and more a trend at finer dining establishments- it was starting to happen a lot in DC at the very high end and at some of the mid-high end.

    Back to BR- I went in there for a drink and the bartender almost had no clue how to make a manhattan. Also, I really wish their bartenders more actively used their jiggers- it makes for better balanced drinks. Eyeballing it without a measuring pourer makes for a chancey guess. I didn't eat there, but the one thing that struck me was how freaking loud it is in their bar. I was almost yelling to talk to the gentleman next to me.

    Then we went to Japonais and got possibly the worst sushi service I've ever gotten in the most obnoxious place to eat sushi. I like their sister Mirai much better.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #13 - December 21st, 2007, 10:34 am
    Post #13 - December 21st, 2007, 10:34 am Post #13 - December 21st, 2007, 10:34 am
    I wear black 99% of the time and I still think it was pretentious, perhaps I'm not trendy enough to seize on this custom. I go to a restaurant for food and service, not whether I'm going to have lint traces on my clothes.
    "With enough butter, anything is good."-Julia Child
  • Post #14 - December 21st, 2007, 10:50 am
    Post #14 - December 21st, 2007, 10:50 am Post #14 - December 21st, 2007, 10:50 am
    jpschust wrote:the bartender almost had no clue how to make a manhattan. Also, I really wish their bartenders more actively used their jiggers- it makes for better balanced drinks. Eyeballing it without a measuring pourer makes for a chancey guess.


    I'm speaking as a bartender here. A GOOD bartender doesn't need a jigger to measure. I can accurately pour. We were even tested at the place I used to work once a month. 6 glasses were laid out and we had to pour the amount that was called for by the manager. Any over or under in any of the glasses and you were asked to take some time off and practice. Just my $0.02.
    If I can't have everything, well then, just give me a taste.
  • Post #15 - December 21st, 2007, 10:52 am
    Post #15 - December 21st, 2007, 10:52 am Post #15 - December 21st, 2007, 10:52 am
    For someone who wears black 99% of the time obviously you haven't had the experiences I have had. Chalk it up to my cheap clothes or cheap white napkins but it's not pretty going out after dinner with white stripes down the front of me. Traces of lint, it was not. Your idea of pretentiousness is my idea of an option.
  • Post #16 - December 21st, 2007, 11:09 am
    Post #16 - December 21st, 2007, 11:09 am Post #16 - December 21st, 2007, 11:09 am
    I love Avec. It's up there in my top ten restaurants of all time. But I have to remember not to wear dark corduroys when I dine there, or look like I've had a strange accident for the rest of the evening. Maybe restaurants who don't offer dark napkins should have a fabric roller service as you leave!
    Anthony Bourdain on Barack Obama: "He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is."
  • Post #17 - December 21st, 2007, 11:18 am
    Post #17 - December 21st, 2007, 11:18 am Post #17 - December 21st, 2007, 11:18 am
    mk wrote:For someone who wears black 99% of the time obviously you haven't had the experiences I have had. Chalk it up to my cheap clothes or cheap white napkins but it's not pretty going out after dinner with white stripes down the front of me. Traces of lint, it was not. Your idea of pretentiousness is my idea of an option.


    Have to say, I don't get this trend. Wouldn't a less silly answer be to purchase linens that don't shed? I mean, eventually "great service" is going to be traded for blue napkins, lavendar napkins, green napkins....
  • Post #18 - December 21st, 2007, 11:25 am
    Post #18 - December 21st, 2007, 11:25 am Post #18 - December 21st, 2007, 11:25 am
    For the record, I have had both great service and black napkins in the same restaurant at the same time. Behold, the power of AND.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #19 - December 21st, 2007, 11:58 am
    Post #19 - December 21st, 2007, 11:58 am Post #19 - December 21st, 2007, 11:58 am
    geli wrote:I love Avec. It's up there in my top ten restaurants of all time. But I have to remember not to wear dark corduroys when I dine there, or look like I've had a strange accident for the rest of the evening. Maybe restaurants who don't offer dark napkins should have a fabric roller service as you leave!

    The past 4 or so times I've dined at Avec (all in the past couple of months), the napkins have been black (no option). So maybe they have wised up and rotated out the white ones.
  • Post #20 - December 21st, 2007, 12:00 pm
    Post #20 - December 21st, 2007, 12:00 pm Post #20 - December 21st, 2007, 12:00 pm
    How did the napkins taste?
  • Post #21 - December 21st, 2007, 12:09 pm
    Post #21 - December 21st, 2007, 12:09 pm Post #21 - December 21st, 2007, 12:09 pm
    Personally, I need a napkin that won't fall off my lap. It hasn't been invented yet.
  • Post #22 - December 21st, 2007, 12:20 pm
    Post #22 - December 21st, 2007, 12:20 pm Post #22 - December 21st, 2007, 12:20 pm
    disappointing,

    3 posts actually about the restaurant, the other 17 about lint from napkins, and what people wear. :roll:

    Id like to hear more about the food, and service if possible, not about what color napkins go best with which color outfit. I thought LTH was about the food? :?
  • Post #23 - December 21st, 2007, 12:30 pm
    Post #23 - December 21st, 2007, 12:30 pm Post #23 - December 21st, 2007, 12:30 pm
    jimswside wrote:disappointing,

    3 posts actually about the restaurant, the other 17 about lint from napkins, and what people wear. :roll:

    Id like to hear more about the food, and service if possible, not about what color napkins go best with which color outfit. I thought LTH was about the food? :?


    I enjoy the twists and turns of these discussions (and, boy, is this one funny). But for more discussion of the restaurant, you may want to read this earlier thread, if you haven't already:

    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=154928
  • Post #24 - December 21st, 2007, 12:33 pm
    Post #24 - December 21st, 2007, 12:33 pm Post #24 - December 21st, 2007, 12:33 pm
    riddlemay wrote:Personally, I need a napkin that won't fall off my lap. It hasn't been invented yet.


    I'd like a napkin that does a better job of getting between the food and my clothes.
  • Post #25 - December 21st, 2007, 12:36 pm
    Post #25 - December 21st, 2007, 12:36 pm Post #25 - December 21st, 2007, 12:36 pm
    thanks darren, Ill check it out.

    It just seems that some folks like to deviate from the topic alot on here. See the Joes Stone Crab thread where most of the posts are about dress codes, and not steaks, and stone crab.

    oh well I guess Ill have to wade through the off topic items to find the meat of the intended topic.
  • Post #26 - December 21st, 2007, 1:00 pm
    Post #26 - December 21st, 2007, 1:00 pm Post #26 - December 21st, 2007, 1:00 pm
    blucrsr wrote:
    jpschust wrote:the bartender almost had no clue how to make a manhattan. Also, I really wish their bartenders more actively used their jiggers- it makes for better balanced drinks. Eyeballing it without a measuring pourer makes for a chancey guess.


    I'm speaking as a bartender here. A GOOD bartender doesn't need a jigger to measure. I can accurately pour. We were even tested at the place I used to work once a month. 6 glasses were laid out and we had to pour the amount that was called for by the manager. Any over or under in any of the glasses and you were asked to take some time off and practice. Just my $0.02.
    There's nothing negative about using a jigger, and even the BEST bartenders will tell you that. Using a pourer spout helps a lot, but when pouring straight from a bottle, if you're going to get an accurate mix, especially in a drink like a manhattan where the balance can become changed very quickly with over and underpours (perefct manhattans are even more succeptable to this) a jigger is pretty much required.

    Some find the use of a jigger as a point of weakness, I find it a strength to say that the bartender values the balance of my drink and is willing to take the extra half second to get his or her measurements right consistently.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #27 - December 21st, 2007, 2:26 pm
    Post #27 - December 21st, 2007, 2:26 pm Post #27 - December 21st, 2007, 2:26 pm
    riddlemay wrote:Personally, I need a napkin that won't fall off my lap. It hasn't been invented yet.


    Amen, from your keyboard to God's ear.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #28 - December 21st, 2007, 9:59 pm
    Post #28 - December 21st, 2007, 9:59 pm Post #28 - December 21st, 2007, 9:59 pm
    Matt wrote:So maybe they have wised up and rotated out the white ones.


    Yes, the "white ones," i.e., kitchen towels, have been rotated out at Avec, the cute, but evil, things they were. Thankfully, the food and wine are still good and the Molton Brown handsoap still in the bath. Shall we discuss bathroom handsoap next?
  • Post #29 - December 21st, 2007, 10:57 pm
    Post #29 - December 21st, 2007, 10:57 pm Post #29 - December 21st, 2007, 10:57 pm
    I love Molton Brown! I like it when he uses Tinkertoys and Atlanta community theatre actors to explain how to make meringue.
  • Post #30 - December 21st, 2007, 11:40 pm
    Post #30 - December 21st, 2007, 11:40 pm Post #30 - December 21st, 2007, 11:40 pm
    aschie30 wrote:Shall we discuss bathroom handsoap next?


    Why not? We've already had a thread where the hand dryers in the bathrooms get some discussion!

    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=16673

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