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post #120 of Old 06-22-2010
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Thumbs down Catamarnas Restaurant in Solomons Island, MD

I have to share this story...

During our recent visit to Solomons I was craving a Burger, it was during the week, a Tuesday in fact. Not a lot was open, it was getting late, about 2:00 PM and I was seriously hungry, so were the kids.

I saw Catamarans Restaurant was advertising it had a new "executive" chef in town. I thought, well they should have a good burger, a quick look at their menu and I saw a Sirloin "Build Your Own Burger" so in we went. They were not busy, just a few tables, maybe 10 people including us (2 kids and wifey and me).

Our young server arrived fairly promptly and took our drink order and came back with it and took our food order. We were on vacation, the weather was nice and we had just enjoyed a swim at Sporing Cove Marina, life couldn't get much better. I was looking forward to that Sirloin Burger with Blue Cheese and caramelized onions with my cold beer!

35 minutes later our kids "Kraft" Macaroni & Cheese (I swear it was Kraft, like the kind I used to eat after a night of hard partying) with some nicely sautéed green beans. (I had to request a vegetable, they serve the kids Mac & Cheese with Fries????).

In between the ordering and the arrival of the kids food I went to the restroom and noticed the "Chef" sitting in the foyer playing on his phone or something? I didn't say anything, just went on my way wondering? On my way back I saw a signed picture of Gordon Ramsay, a chef I admire very much, his Hells Kitchen series aside. The I noticed the "Executive Chef" of the restaurant had been a contestant on the show...Twice! His name Robert Hesse. This intrigued me.

45 minutes later my burger finally arrived. Needles to say I was not pleased, but I'm not one to complain...I know how it can be sometimes. I had ordered my burger Medium, with Blue Cheese & Onions. Very Well Done is what I got, a couple of crumbles of cheese and a few leftover onions. Even my wife was discussed (thats not a easy thing to do). The burger looked about the size of a piece of Kingsford Charcoal on a bun about three sizes to was pathetic!

The server finally came over to the table to inquire if everything was alright and I had to say something. She asked if I wanted to see the Chef? I said sure, send him out, we can talk Chef to "Chef". I waited another 10 minutes for him to come...nadda...

The events following I wont write about here, but I will tell you I confronted him face to face and he was not pleased, needless to say neither was I. They did send out another pair of Burgers, still over cooked. I ate half reluctantly, but my wife insisted (she is the more rational one of course).
They did remove the burgers from our bill and the kids did get their lunch, even if it was made from a box.

Here's what gets me really ticked off...people who call themselves "Chefs" and have no business doing so. I completely understand a kitchen having an off day, but you try to fix the situation. Offer the customer something, make it right, a beer on the house, free dessert, whatever...but don't just ignore it and curse your staff (or your customers..duh) because they want what they paid for!

I've mentioned several times in this thread and elsewhere my displeasure with the typical quality of food found around the bay eateies...they are few and far between, and its really sad. As a Professional Chef and an Educator I find myself frustrated beyond belief what to do about it? I like to eat out once and a while, especially on vacation. I don't expect food to dazzle me every time I sit down, to be like the food I cooked in restaurants I have worked and operated in (The Inn at Little Washington, Lespinasse, Château de Sureau, to name a few). If I order a freaking Sirloin Burger advertised for $10.00 as it was at Catamaran's it should be GREAT! People like Mr. Hesse make my profession look bad I don't appreciate it and thats why I had to write this.

Good luck if you choose to give the restaurant a chance, heck I might even do so, but not anytime soon.

BTW, until you, the customer really starts to say something I don't think much will change. These restaurants need to wake up and realize that opening a box of cheese sticks from Sysco or US Foods is not cooking! Hire people who are trained, that care about what they are serving, understand customer service, and pay them what they deserve!!!

Sorry for the rant...but it seemed the appropriate place to do so

If you disagree I will gladly delete my post


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