Well, that sucked

Once in a while I get tired of cooking. Normally this would be a good opportunity to go out to eat. I, however, am hesitant to go out much. Despite what I’ve read and heard from my friend Angela, a health inspector, the reason is not because of the kitchen conditions (although I have walked out of more than a few places because they didn’t meet my personal health standards.) No – I don’t like to go out to eat because I am afraid of being disappointed. Now, this is going to sound snobby, but since I like to cook and fancy myself a gourmet (and am a bit of a penny pincher) I hate to pay someone to cook for me unless it is good – really good.
I am very, very picky regarding service, presentation, value and yes, the cleanliness, but most of all – I harshly judge the food. Few restaurant experiences have left an indelible impression on me. However, this week is restaurant week in Virginia Beach – meaning a select group of local eateries create unique specials and give a portion of their proceeds to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia (www.foodbankonline.org/)– so we decided to go out to eat at one of the participating establishments and support the cause.

I like to use http://www.tripadvisor.com/ as a starting point and then carefully read other local reviews. In Virginia Beach, Burton’s Grill is currently ranked #1 (of the 708 VB restaurants ranked by trip advisor). I went there a couple months ago on a friend’s recommendation and can still taste the grilled mahi mahi topped with avocado salsa. Simply put, it was spectacular. #1 also means I could not get last-minute reservations for this evening, so I perused some of the other choices and settled on #12 – Icehouse Restaurant. With “awesome” service and “excellent” locally caught and grown dishes, Icehouse is touted as a “local’s favorite.” I figured I wouldn’t be disappointed. Well, I was wrong. Sorta.

I say sorta because I can’t really tell you whether or not the food was “excellent” – because we didn’t actually get to eat. We drank our ice cold beers and nibbled on our appetizers (which were rather good) and watched people come in, order, eat, pay and leave. Finally, almost an hour after our appetizer plates were cleared, we managed to wave down our waitress who seemed shocked to realize we hadn’t had our entrees yet. She explained our order “fell on the floor” or “got put out of order” – she wasn’t quite clear about what happened. Now, this isn’t a huge place. The main dining room has maybe 14 tables and we were right in the middle of the room. She regularly passed by our table, refilled our drinks and made one apology early on about the tardiness of our food and then, apparently, forgot about us.

Now, on my list of crappiest restaurant experiences, this falls in well below finding the (used) bandaid in a bowl of Ivar’s clam chowder but pretty much guarantees I won’t be going back.

Better luck next time...or not.

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