Would we go back:
635 Lake St E
• Crabcakes $11.95 (shared)
• Spun Salad included with meal
• Scallops in a light white wine sauce $29.95
• Hash Browns 1/2 order $5.95
I am going to be honest, my stomach is still turning from our meal on Saturday (today is Tuesday). So I am going to have a hard time being objective.
I am not sure where to begin so I will begin with the highlight of the meal which was the crabcakes. The crabcakes were actually very good. They had very little filler in them and if you avoided the accompanying sauce, they tasted excellent. I am not sure they were quite worth the price, but close. As long as we are on highlights, the bread in the bread basket was quite good. Again the butter did nothing for it, it had some sort of herb in it and honey or sugar which did not work for me. They also had these crouton like pieces in the basket that were not too great.
The spun salad comes with the meal. And to make things interesting, they come to the table and make it in front of your eyes. This is kind of fun. They have a bunch of different ingredients that they add into it which you can pick and choose as you like however the server said it is best with everything in it. While you do get a very hearty salad with everything, any subtlety each ingredient might add is lost. I really did not like the salad. I would have rather paid extra for a salad that somebody put some thought into how the ingredients worked together.
My scallops were also a challenge. While there were plenty of them (12) only about three were done absolutely correctly the rest were right on the border of being overdone. The sauce which was described as a light white sauce was in reality a heavy hollandaise like sauce which overpowered the scallops. Ok a couple obvious questions one might ask...why order scallops when you are at a steakhouse? I think this is a fair question, however, if they have it on the menu then I think it is fair to order it and I have had success at other steakhouse such as Mortons. Another questions might be...Wow that was a lot of scallops. Don't you think you should cut them some slack on the preparation and feel like you got your money's worth anyhow? I can justify many things in fact coming from small town Minnesota I am surprised at what I can justify when it comes to price, but they were $30. Which is a lot of money and if you are going to charge $30 they had better come out to me perfectly. And I will say it again I AM WILLING TO PAY MORE FOR QUALITY OVER QUANITITY
The hash browns were fun to look at, but not so fun to eat. We were too full to attempt dessert. Overall I was disappointed.
• Filet Mignon $35.95
Do we have to repeat that quantity does not equal quality?
The quantity of the spun salad with the entree at Gianni's was a full meal in itself. It was a full mound of almost anything you'd want in a salad. The salad included things like shrimp, bacon bits, banana peppers, blue cheese, onions, tomatoes, etc. It was prepared and served table side, which was quaint. But it was overdressed and overeverythinged. I much prefer a smaller portion of good greens with a reasonable amount of dressing and some high quality ingredients that make it taste interesting.
The quantity of a half order of hash browns was also a meal in itself. It, too, was a full plate of crisply hardened hash browns. We barely ate half of the half order. For an upcharge and an upcalorie, we could have added the cheese and onions. I would much prefer a lesser quantity that could be included in the price of the entree.
Surprisingly, the quantity of the crab cakes was reasonable, but Gianni's still charges dearly for them. I didn't care for the outer shell or the thick sauce that reminded me of bad salad dressing. The crab cakes did include a high degree of crab meat, somewhat justifying the price.
My steak was excellent. It's one of the better steaks I've had in a while in terms of cut and preparation. Once again, though, I can get a good steak cheaper elsewhere. If I could knock off a quarter of the price and not get the salad, it might be in the ballpark. As it is, their price is too high for the market.
I was also disappointed with the snooty service and clientele. I got the impression that both the staff and the guests are so accustomed to snooty behavior that it is expected from each. If you act unpretentiously, you are obviously an outsider. Some examples:
• The hostess was alarmed that we would want to look at the wine list.
• One of my developing pet peeves is wait staff who demand your drink order right after you sit down. This may have been happened as a result of impatient diners who know exactly what they want and order the same thing every time. We are not those people. We take a few minutes to read what the restaurant offers. When the server returned, he asked, "Have you decided on drinks... or anything??"
• Overheard from a nearby table (impatiently), "When will our steaks be ready?" Even though the service was timely, this table of four must have been irked that a table of two that arrived before them received their food first. I can only imagine their pain.
I also got the impression that if you don't look a certain way, dress a certain way, and vote a certain way, that you are obviously an outsider. Those were the vibes I got, but you would have to go there yourself to confirm it.
$20 and up
March 13, 2004