Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Tale of the Blue Lemon

Casey and I had date night this weekend! We got a coupon in the mail to a restaurant called the Blue Lemon. We'd heard some pretty good things about it so we decided to go to the one closest to us in Highland and we were COMPLETELY unimpressed. Now, I don't want to be a hater, so I will try to be as positive as possible, but.... it wasn't a great experience. I'll cover efficiency, atmosphere / cleanliness, plating, taste, and expectations.

Efficiency- F

Casey and I arrived at the restaurant around 7 and, thanks to my line magic, found only three women, who were all together, ahead of us in the line. It took over five minutes for the hostess to take their order. I told Casey to go grab a seat while I ordered so he wouldn't have to hold Sander in his carrier the whole time. When I finally got to the register I saw a sign advertising their Caramel Apple Cider so I asked the hostess, "How much is it for a cup of the Caramel Apple Cider." She said she didn't know so it took another minute for her to look up how much that was (3.90 for a small btw! Can you say, ridickilus?). After another minute she finally got my order, handed me a number (you know how you fold paper in half and stand it up? It was a small, plastic one of those) and I sat down.

The wait time for the food wasn't too bad but it was hard for the waitresses to see the little plastic tent numbers on the tables. They would walk around the dining room for a long time, carrying plates of food, leaning over tables, looking for their corresponding number. Blue Lemon should put the numbers on stands or something so the waitresses can see them more easily! Poor waitresses!

Atmosphere / Cleanliness B+

Overall, Blue Lemon achieves a pretty trendy atmosphere. The restaurant was crowded, so the buzz of conversations combined with the music playing at just the right volume to achieve a mix between a club and a restaurant made the whole place seem pretty chic. The tables were nicely spaced so it was not too crowded but they could still get in as much seating as possible. Unfortunately the place where I sat had a HUGE sticky spot on the floor that left my shoes sticky for a really long time which is highly annoying.

To be fair, I didn't really look to see if there were other sticky spots on the floor, so it could have just been where I was sitting. Luckily, I could look at all of the good looking food being forever carried around the dining room by the waitresses to take my attention off of the floor until our food arrived.

Plating - A

The plating was chic and creative making the food appear, at first glance, to be more appropriate in a four or five star restaurant instead of a three. The plateware itself was well chosen to appear modern and upscale. However, when the waitress plunked my food down in front of me I was really surprised to find that the plates are actually lightweight plastic! My plate even had rubber feet on the bottom which completely downgrades the plateware from upscale to middle class.

Taste - C+

I got a steak with Gorgonzola cheese while my hubbie got the Salmon (some of the most expensive dishes on the menu since it was buy one, get one free with our coupon. But they were still only $13) and we split. The steak description was medium rare but it came out well done which made the steak a little chewy instead of melt-in-your-mouth-tender, but the steak with the gorgonzola cheese was a great combination.

Totally brown throughout = well-done.

Casey's Salmon was flaky and had good flavor, as did the potato gallete thing that came with it, however, they burnt the bottom of it.

It's not really anything to be snobby about, but with such a small menu it seems like they should be able to do the dishes they do have on the menu really well.

Expectations - D-

At restaurants like Red Lobster or Olive Garden (which this restaurant is probably on par with) have menus with prices that usually end in $ .99. More upscale restaurants generally don't show cents or dollar signs. They just have something like:

Filet Minon 45

This is how the menu at Blue Lemon looked also. I already mentioned that the plating was well done and also added to an upscale feel. Then we discovered that the plates were plastic and the food was burnt or over cooked!

It's not like the restaurant was terrible, I think it's just the fact that the restaurant had so many cues that made me expect something more than I actually got. It's all about expectations and this restaurant didn't live up the things it showed me to expect.

There was a bistro which I think is a great idea and they did have an entire menu of sandwiches and some soups that also looked good which I didn't get to try.

Would I go back? Not really sure. If I got another coupon I might go to try one of their sandwiches now that I have a more appropriate set of expectations, but the first experience left me feeling so disappointed that it kinda turned me off.. :(

Overall Rating - C-

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