Portobello Restaurant: Big Price, Little Satisfaction

The wife and I are still smarting about this experience. We decided on this particular Friday Out that we’d go hit a restaurant that we haven’t tried yet. We’ve been looking at the Portobello restaurant for a while, and it seemed to be the place to choose. We were quite wrong.

In an effort to help improve the Rochester dining landscape, let me take this opportunity to provide a few pointers that help make a restaurant a more enjoyable experience:

  1. If you only take reservations, that’s OK; if you allow walk-in’s, that’s OK also. Please kindly make up your minds before we enter the building, rather than making faces after we ask for a table.
  2. People like menus because we like to look at them and decide what we want. That’s the primary function of menus. Don’t hand us the drink menu and then ask if we’ve decided what we want. We haven’t even gotten our eyes focused on the page, yet.
  3. On the other hand, when we ask for time to decide, we don’t really require a half hour to do this.
  4. Now, even trickier are specials which you announce to a table of customers. Once again, you generally want to tell them what the specials are when they sit down or before they order drinks. What you do not want to do is, once again, give them the list of specials and then ask if they’ve decided what they wanted. We’d sorta made up our minds because we hadn’t heard the specials, but it might have been nice to have contemplated the specials, too.
  5. Salad typically includes more than lettuce and dressing. Croutons are a nice touch, but not required. Onions, peppers, or anything that might have another color than green really spices things up. Otherwise, it’s just a pile of leaves with oil on them.
  6. Oh yeah, one other thing: if you’re bringing food to the table, since people sitting in restaurants tend to do so because they’re hungry, they’ll be happy to pull back from their conversations to let you put the food down. In fact, it’s a little-known secret that we like it when you bring us food. It is not generally required of you to wield our food like a staff, pushing it at us to back us up long enough to get the food on the table.

I’ve not been so disappointed in a meal or in a dining experience ever that I know of. This is particularly true because we eventually got the bill. For two meals and two glasses of wine, it cost us 50 bucks.

And actually, it cost us more than that because we ended up going to Phillips European for dessert just to wash the taste of bitter rage out of our mouths. Thank god for Phillips! They made us feel immediately better when we walked in, and our waitress, upon hearing of our unfortunate experience, made us a little cup of whipped cream with a candle in it to sooth our nerves. How cool is that?

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.

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